Building a Brand on .Net

As Domain Investors we tend to be very focused on .com – and with good reason. If you are going to invest in a domain name a .com will definitely have the most value when you are looking to re-sell the domain. There are a million different price tables comparing the .com re-sale value to that of a .net, .org etc. and oftentimes these second-tier TLD’s don’t even command 1/3rd the price of their corresponding .com.

But what if you don’t want to re-sell your domain? You might be thinking – okay, he’s finally lost it – what does he mean don’t want to re-sell – that’s what domain investing is all about…right? Wrong. Yes – buying and selling domain names is an essential part of the domain investing process, but you can have a domain investment that you never plan to sell. You can have a domain name that generates a consistent monthly income which for many people might be more important than one lump sum.

If you don’t plan to sell a domain then you can focus on the keywords in the name rather than the TLD! This is because Google is TLD agnostic and will not rank a .com above a .net or a .org just because it’s a .com! Instead Google ranks sites based on how relevant they think the site is to the given search query. For example – when I bought Domainvestors.tv I never once thought about re-selling this name – instead I wanted to build a brand with the word “Domainvestors” and a TLD that represents my interest and focus on video. Search for my brand on Google – “Domainvestors” and you’ll see the entire first page is all me! Sure I could get the same results with a .com but I’m not trying to re-sell the name and the .tv TLD is actually more relevant!

Now for the title of this post – building a brand on .net. Perhaps the most famous person to build a brand on the .net TLD is ProBlogger. Darren built his blog on ProBlogger.net and later acquired the .com version of this name. He has been in the #1 slot on Google when you search for “Pro Blogger” for a long time now and he runs one of the most successful blogs out there.

This week Darren announced the launch of ProBlogger.com and guess what – it’s a different site! As a Domainer our first instinct would be to buy the .com to forward this traffic or better structure the brand on a .com – the king of TLD’s. Darren instead is thinking outside of the box here and is actually using Com to mean “Community”. He has put a brand-new forum focused on Blogging on ProBlogger.com.

Let’s be clear here – I’m not saying you should stop buying .com domains or that other TLD’s will eclipse .com in pricing. What I am saying is that you can build a brand without a .com. At the end of the day ranking well in search engines should be your primary goal and you don’t need a .com to do this!

Share your thoughts! Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt September 30, 2009, 8:32 am

    Type in ‘generic domains” into Google and see who ranks higher in the organic listings (However, the .com registrant is running an Adwords campaign).

    Reply
    • mlinton September 30, 2009, 8:38 am

      Nice! Another great example – thanks for sharing Leonard!

      Reply
  • Ross September 30, 2009, 9:02 am

    I think building a brand on the .net is fine but in all reality you will end up buying the .com if you become successful just like Darren did. Also look at del.icio.us they ended up buying the .com as well.

    I really do not think it is the mind set of people that are starting a business to secure the .com instantly but rather to develop a great idea just as Darren and Delicious have.

    Darren had always redirected the .com to the .net as soon as he had acquired it until now. Which makes perfect sense. The thing that he did not do that most people would have is make the .com part of the brand and get away from the .net. I applaud Darren for this but he would be pretty stupid if he had not acquired the .com of is domain name. On top of that he is creating another aspect of his brand with a “community” on the .com. Most people would go the other way around, .net = network .com = Brand.

    Even in his latest post (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2009/10/01/should-you-use-a-localized-domain-name/) he mentions that he prefers to go with the .com over the .net or .org but suggests that if you are looking for an international audience it is best to pick up one of the three.

    Though at the end of the day, relevance to the topic at hand is all that matters when it comes to building a brand. Even if it was a .info that you choose to build on the end goal is to be recognized in the space for what your chosen topic is.

    Reply
  • Chef Patrick September 30, 2009, 9:26 am

    FreshDrop.net is another example. They do own FreshDrop.com which redirects to their .net. I don’t know the details, but I wonder if they owned both versions when starting out.

    Reply
  • Chris_robbins September 30, 2009, 12:55 pm

    Probably comcast is the most famous example using the .com a a brand for selling and then the .net for people who already are with them.

    Reply
  • Pimp Jason September 30, 2009, 2:13 pm

    Its the never ending debate. Do you go with the king of domain extensions .com or the red headed step child the .net since I am a fan of both extensions I would have to say that I respect both equally as much. Lets bring a comic into this picture:

    http://bit.ly/1uOif1

    Now that obviously didn’t work as I like both of the extensions even more now. 🙂

    Reply
  • TeenDomainer September 30, 2009, 5:13 pm

    A great example of a great .net but Darren is smart and as he grew he bought the .com and is now putting it to good use. I think it is cool to see a .com and .net begin used for different things when they are owned by the same person.

    Reply
  • Pebbles October 1, 2009, 6:53 am

    I’m still pretty new as a domain investor, Learning the pros and cons about this business appear to be virtually never-ending, However I have bought great domain names both .net and .org as well as a few .com domain name extensions. Therefore .Net and .Org TLD’s can work just as well as a .com and even better in some instances, so why all the hype if the .com isn’t available or attainable budget-wise, get over it and move on to the next best Level TLD if available. Most of you .probably know the net and .org have done quite well in domain sales

    Reply
  • nSathees October 1, 2009, 3:22 pm

    .com .com .com every where .com!

    To rank in Google, the extension do not matter, if it is then the .ORG should be the one. Since many ORG sites provide legitimate information.

    So far my understanding goes, the .com is something like a ccTLD for US.

    Reply

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