Out of the top picks for TechCrunch Disrupt 2019, 43% are branding on non .COMs

TechCrunch Disrupt 2019

TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 is just around the corner and that means some of the hottest startups in the world will be converging on San Francisco and vying for the attention of top Silicon Valley VCs. I’m a big fan of disrupt, it celebrates innovation and does a great job of showcasing exceptional startups and founders that are pushing the limits of what’s possible.

One of the companies that I’m an investor in called Self Lender, launched at Disrupt back in 2014, and there’s a good chance that some of the startups you use today started on the same stage.

Of course, whenever I see TechCrunch announce their top picks for disrupt I can’t help but look at what domain extensions everyone’s using. It changes every year but usually most of the companies brand on .COM.

This year, things have certainly changed quite a bit as 43% of TechCrunch’s top picks at Disrupt 2019 are branding on non .COMs. The most popular .COM alternative is .IO which represents 18% of the domain extensions used.

Other domain extensions in the mix this year are .CO, .ME, .AI, .EU, .IN, .APP, .BZ, .ORG, .and BZ. I was pretty surprised that not a single .NET was there. It wasn’t that long ago that if a startup couldn’t get the .COM, they’d immediately go for the .NET, now it’s clear other extensions have become more attractive.

For domain name investors reading this, don’t fear. .COM is still king and my guess is the startups on this list that land funding and continue to grow will probably move from whatever extension they’re on, to a .COM. It’s happened over and over again and with .COM prices continuing to rise every year with demand, that’s certainly not changing any time soon.

What is clear though is that for startups, getting their initial idea out there on a .COM seems to be less of a priority. While I didn’t go back and calculate it myself I’m guessing this is the lowest number of .COMs Disrupt has ever seen…does that mean next year .COM could slip below 50%?

If you want to see the full list of TechCrunch’s top picks at Disrupt 2019, you can check them all out here.

What do you think? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Don Murray August 24, 2019, 5:20 pm

    Those are some shi!y names they have come up with. It’s actually not the extension but the actual name of the company itself that is far worse. Combine the extension on top of it all and it becomes real bad. It’s really funny. Maybe 1 of 10 will make it but at least give yourself a chance with an decent name.

    Some of these companies look pretty cool though. They need a domain/brand consultant for sure.

  • Snoopy August 24, 2019, 5:21 pm

    That 43% is going to have major domain issues. I wonder what % even have an upgrade path available.

    • Matt August 25, 2019, 12:43 pm

      A domain name isn’t the biggest challenge these startups face. Many of them will fail for other reasons. They should invest in their technology, products, services and people before spending all their $ on a domain name.

      • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 6:26 pm

        That doesn’t mean a bad domain choice should be celebrated. These companies could have got better domains for reg fee and a bit of research. For .io it is Techcrunch style companies following each others lead and the extension is dying out like other fad extensions did (.me, .ly, .us, .tv). The trendy one is now .ai.

  • Ethan August 24, 2019, 6:37 pm

    I knew that, as time goes by, new and ccTLDs would get more attentions and uses, and I’m glad to see that.

    As for .net, I think it is a bit old-fashioned. I would use new or ccTLDs over .net without hesitation.

    • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 2:06 am

      Ethan, it is very wrong to try an associate new tlds with country codes like .io and .ai. This article is not about new tlds at all, the only one mentioned was a site on a .app. New tld usage is going absolutely nowhere. The potential they had in 2014 has been taken by rebranded country codes, people mostly made the wrong bet.

      .IO and .CO currently has a market for TechCrunch style startups but sales volumes are already in decline, well down fro the peak of a couple of years ago. .AI is growing rapidly.

      • Ethan August 25, 2019, 4:57 am

        This article is about non .COMs, and that includes both new and ccTLDs. Although the new TLD usage hasn’t become the mainstream, it is far from going nowhere.

        And I suggest you to go to DAN (formerly Undeveloped) and then scroll down to the “Domains you just missed” section. You can often see .IO and .CO in that section. Those sales aren’t listed on NameBio, so please don’t rely on NameBio for analyzing end-user usages.

        • Matt August 25, 2019, 12:54 pm

          Absolutely true Ethan.

          .co, .ai, .io have all transcended ccTLD status. They fall more into the new gTLD class than ccTLD based on usage particularly with startups.

          Snoopy is obsessed with Namebio sales and new gTLD registration numbers which does little to illustrate actual usage.

          A line should always be drawn between the domain investor/broker opinion and that of end users. Investors/brokers have a bias that they cannot seem to part from.

          “For domain name investors reading this, don’t fear. .COM is still king…” Morgan is right for the short term, but I think I think they should fear a little (in the short term) and a lot (in the long term) if they plan on renewing 5,000+ .coms for the next 10 years.

          Another real sign of change is a very recent new Google domains ad focusing on the benefits to small businesses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dX1xcHR4k4 (I’ve been saying this all along)

          • Ethan August 25, 2019, 1:23 pm

            Yeah. Repurposed ccTLDs are pretty much like new gTLDs. I bet that 99% of Twitch users think .tv means .television; to them, .tv is simply a “new” domain extension.

            And that Google ad of new gTLD is beautiful!

          • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 5:47 pm

            In what way is something like .tv “new”? It has been marketed as an alternate extension for over 20 years. It is another one that isn’t growing.

        • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 5:41 pm

          Only 1 ntld in mentioned, .app. Once again you are trying to associate.io and .co with new tlds.

          • Matt August 25, 2019, 9:36 pm

            From my comment above:
            .co, .ai, .io have all transcended ccTLD status. They fall more into the new gTLD class than ccTLD based on usage particularly with startups.

            And to add:
            The general public especially those in their 20s getting online will not distinguish .tv, .info, .travel, .jobs, .tel, .mobi from any the new gtlds, and they won’t distinguish those from .co, .io, .ai or even .net.

            That’s right. Even .net is now competing against all these other TLDs and sorry to say it is doing nothing to stand out.

            End users browsing TLDs are not thinking “.net, second best to .com since the internet launched – so let’s register that…” nor are they thinking “.io, I’ve seen some companies use that but it’s connected with the British Indian Ocean Territory so I’m not registering that!”

            Fun fact: The first .io was registered in 1997 by Levi Straus – levi.io (according to Wikipedia)

          • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 10:41 pm

            Another attempt to associate popular cctlds with unpopular new tlds. I don’t like cctlds but these are 1000x better than any new tld.

          • Matt August 25, 2019, 9:38 pm

            *correction: levi.io was registered in 1998 (not 1997) Wikipedia.

          • Ethan August 25, 2019, 10:59 pm


            Don’t forget your own attempts to un-associate repurposed ccTLDs with new TLDs.

            We domainers of course have the concepts of “ccTLD” and “new TLD” in our brains. But the general public just don’t have the concepts.

          • Snoopy August 25, 2019, 11:02 pm

            The general public have zero interest or knowledge of new tlds. Many are familiar with cctlds though.

          • Matt August 27, 2019, 8:19 am

            Snoopy – most folks around the world do not even distinguish .com and .co.uk as legacy TLD and ccTLD. They just see domain options and think what they want to achieve and who their audience is. Plus they think that at a basic level.

            When they go to GoDaddy or Porkbun.com, do a search and are presented with the .com is not available but keyword.tech, .shop, .io, .org, .net, .info, .co, .nyc or whatever is available many choose one of the other options… They aren’t distinguishing ccTLD/legacy/repurposed/new gTLD…

            Even ICANN is starting to treat all domains endings the same: URS option will come into effect for legacy, price caps will be removed – soon folks will be paying $25 for a .com maybe much higher in the years following… All part of inflation and market forces… But it’s all good, freer markets. Let the market dictate prices, need, demand and desire… Come on monopolies and all this regulation is bad. It isn’t going to destroy .com…

            Is it?

          • Snoopy August 27, 2019, 10:40 pm

            Very few people are choosing ntlds Matt, that is why numbers haven’t grown in a couple of years now despite more new tlds being released. The market is domainers and defensive registrations, registrars wish it wasn’t so.

            Business owners instinctively know not to use them just like they wouldn’t buy a computer with a non qwerty keyboard or a car with 3 wheels.

            Trying to associate new tlds with cctlds won’t do anything for these extensions.

          • Matt August 28, 2019, 10:03 pm

            Most end users (particularly newer and younger) are not distinguishing ntlds from cctlds and legacy tlds. They are buying their perfect fit name. The one that feels right, sounds good and is available at a reasonable price.

            To your point about the numbers not growing, with many nTLDs there IS growth in end users registering and using nTLDs. However, what is simultaneously happening in some namespaces is that overzealous domainers from 2014 are dropping new Gs in big numbers — because nTLDs are generally not a good investment for domainers — they are a good option for end users.

            That’s what many folks in this biz are adamant about denying. Truth is, domainers will ultimately have little effect on the outcome of new domain extension success – end users will decide that.

  • frank meester August 25, 2019, 4:52 am

    CO, .ME, .AI, .EU, .IN, .APP, .BZ, .ORG, .and BZ.(BIZ)?

  • Mark Thorpe August 25, 2019, 6:15 am

    LendFirst.com sounds better than Self Lender. 😉

    • Matt August 25, 2019, 12:46 pm

      LendFirst.com is available for $68,888.00

  • Robert Evans August 30, 2019, 6:22 am

    I honestly don’t give a f***. If you want to SURVIVE in this world and do more than just float around in the kiddie pool — you are GOING to have to BUILD a SOLID brand out of yourself. Place it this way — is this said domain alternative WORTH the 10 year renewal fee from our very own pockets of a dead end job that supports it ? Will it help convert you OUT of that situation where you can earn more ? If you become honest with yourselves on this — each & every one of us will collect the honest answer ! Hope this helps.


Leave a Comment