URL suffixes (.com, .org, .net)

I’m providing advice to a small charity guide site.

Currently, their URL ends in .net, and the .com and .org flavors of their name are owned by other parties. I’ve been encouraging them to consider other URLs where they could get the .com and/or .org.

Does anyone know of any data that would help in thinking about this issue? Percentage of web traffic (or US based web traffic) by URL suffix? Percentage of users guessing at a URL by trying with .com or .org or something like that?

Assuming you’ve got yourname.com, and other available main variants (.net, .org), is it even worth bothering with stuff like .us, .biz, and so on?

In this day and age, with the prevalence of Google, the need to have the perfect URL is reduced.

Nonetheless, if they could secure a domain in both .com and .org, it would be a good idea.

Depending on how long their site has been around and their existing pagerank, they’ll want to make sure to hold on to their current domain and 301 forward it to their new one. Also, as a charity, they should make the .org the primary use domain and 301 forward whatever .com they buy to it as well.

I feel like only .com, .org, and (to a lesser extent) .net matter. I have a hard time imagining someone guessing that a domain name will end in .biz, for example.

But like Ryan said, google makes this not count for as much these days… you’d be surprised at how many people don’t even know that you can type the address of a site into a web browser and go directly to it without searching for it first.

Call them TLDs, not URL suffixes, you’ll get more cred.

I guess it depends on how well their current URL is known. .net is not right for a charity according to the old guidelines, for what that’s worth – it should have been .org for a charity. Of course those guidelines are all but obsolete, but if they are small and obscure anyway, maybe they really should go for a pair of new .org and .com addresses, since people do tend to assume .com if all they can remember is the hostname or organization name.

I don’t think there’s any need to go for .net if you’re not a network provider or at least some kind of online service provider, there is still some faint association of .net with that kind of organization, and no one will accidentally type .net if they don’t mean to do so.

My dad and my partner’s dad fall into that category. Drives me crazy.

Great advice.

Data? No. General rules of tumb? Yes. As plain as possible, as short as possible, without dashes or breakup of the name within the URL, and start with .com first. Unfortunately, the names of some businesses just don’t work well in shortened form. Many have mentioned search engines reducing the need for this, which means it is absolutely necessary to remember that and tune your site to appear correctly.

In the last two organizations I’ve worked for, we’ve been told to no longer register anything but .com (note that I’m in an enterprise, not a charitable organization.) Previously we would register everything, but in all honesty this is no longer needed, and money that ends up wasted when most people just search for your site.

If you do need actual data and recommendations, a Google search (ironically) provides some great links:

“Make something idiot-proof, and the world will just make better idiots to beat it.”

Who are you quoting there?

Not sure - just something I heard before which stuck in my head. Though it does sound like something my father might say…

EDIT: could just be a variation on “never underestimate the stupidity of…”

Not to worry. I was just snarking because you actually put quotes around it, yet while I’ve read many variations on the statement, I’ve never seen the “to beat it” part. According to the Jargon File, the genesis of the expression was:

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” — Rich Cook.

If the .com and .org versions are particularly popular, illegal/porno, or doing the same thing as your organization then yes, it’s probably worthwhile to switch. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter.

In other countries, you’ve got the added advantages (and complications) of a country-specific TLD. There is a .us TLD, but I rarely see anybody important use it.