What is the best domain extension for a mobile app?

I was recently talking to a startup founder here in Austin who asked me, “next to .COM, what do you think is the best domain extension for an app?” Most people want the .COM that matches their domain but sometimes this doesn’t align with their budget. Let’s be honest, .COM’s are the most expensive domain names out there, for an early-stage startup launching an app, budgets are often $25k or lower.

best-app-domains

So you’re onto your second choice, what’s the best option for an app?

I have a hard time answering this since I think a number of TLD are good fits for apps, but I think it’s only fair to answer the question if I’m going to ask it. So here are my thoughts – I think .co, .me, and .io are the best alternatives available right now. In the future .APP will be a solid contender and it doesn’t hurt that it’s being run by Google who paid $25M for it. For now here’s my thinking around non .COMs for mobile apps:

.CO – best all-around extension for a mobile app, Vine (vine.co) is one of the most popular apps ever released and they went with .CO, it is well-recognized and most importantly short and easy to type on a mobile device.

.ME – app-makers have gravitated to .ME over the years, and some very well known brands like About.me have called this TLD home. The nice thing about .ME is it’s short, people know it, it’s become part and parcel of the startup space and if you’re doing something personalized to a user the “me” really makes a lot of sense.

.IO – this is a good choice for app’s targeting developers or any startup building anything targeting developers. It’s also short and easy-to-remember and like .CO and .ME the startup space is very familiar with this TLD but it’s probably less well known by the general public than .CO or .ME so it’s a bit more of a risk, especially if word of mouth is important.

.APP – it’s not out yet but Google is running it and it could become a go-to extension for app-makers but it’s too early to know.

One important alternative to look at is appending the word “app” to your company name and buying the .COM. So if your app is called “Austin” and Austin.com was out of your price range (or not for sale) then you’d get AustinApp.com. This is a viable option but I still like the idea of using a .CO, .ME, or .IO better since I think it’s stronger to have yourcompanyname.something.

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Photo Credit: FotoDB.de via Compfight cc

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Amanda March 27, 2016, 9:31 pm

    I like the .app as a consumer. I like some of the new gTLD’s and have a few in mind that I see potential success in after branding.

    Reply
  • Sara Bregman March 27, 2016, 9:32 pm

    .TV
    periscope.tv is a good example

    Reply
    • Morgan March 29, 2016, 8:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing everyone – good range of choices out there for app developers, it will be very interesting to see what happens once .APP comes out.

      Reply
  • Jijo Pappachan March 27, 2016, 9:37 pm

    .IO would be my choice.

    Reply
  • Nick March 27, 2016, 9:59 pm

    .IO all the way

    Reply
  • John March 27, 2016, 10:26 pm

    I would add .ch (Swiss) to that list of any startup. There are many “aged” names available in this older extension- it’s short and starting to be bought by MANY Chinese.

    Reply
  • David Weston March 27, 2016, 10:42 pm

    I actually like .link (meaningful) .club (resale value) and .xyz (broadest new name reach) in that order. Those are the best low price extensions

    Reply
  • Xavier.xyz March 27, 2016, 11:25 pm

    .io without a doubt!

    .me is more personal.
    .co is great for local business sites, tech startups(not only apps), and viral sites

    Reply
  • RaTHeaD March 27, 2016, 11:44 pm

    i don’t understand the question. are you trying to fail? is that why you would pick a non dotcom domain?

    Reply
  • oceanking March 28, 2016, 5:57 am

    .co and .io are the favorites of startups after .com. Which is proven by dngeek’s weekly startups and their domain article.

    Reply
  • Adam March 28, 2016, 7:03 am

    .ME and .CO since they promote and market sites actively that use those extensions.

    Reply
  • Patrick March 28, 2016, 12:22 pm

    .io

    Reply
  • DVentures March 29, 2016, 11:46 am

    Shameless plug. I own mobileapp.xyz and to me that’s the best 🙂

    Reply
  • Juan David Aristizabal March 30, 2016, 3:40 pm

    For me “.xyz” its the best alternative, even better than “.me”, “.io”, “.co”; .xyz “for every website everywhere” and has sold at this point more than all others new gTLDs, yes and also more than “.co”, “.us”, “.io” and “.biz”

    Reply
    • Xavier.xyz March 31, 2016, 11:13 pm

      wow, we forgot to talk about .Mobi

      OMG!

      Reply
  • Fierce.app September 18, 2019, 9:09 pm

    .app for sure because the shorter you can make the name the easier it is to remember. The internet and technology will keep changing. It’s like how aol email was the thing, then hotmail and now it’s gmail. If nothing is constant then it’s in our best interest to adapt to the new landscape and see new domain extensions as fresh namespaces. Not all extensions will have equal worth but back in the day there was no mobile. The word app is part of our tech vocabulary. The other day a coworker was taking a look at a website I created and he says “nice mobile app”. Having a long dot com screams POOR and if you notice, generally those who aren’t that technologically savvy are the ones that get untypable domain names like coloradospringscountryclubestates.com or something equally hideous. The shorter the domain, the easier it is to type. If you have an app just append the .app after your one word and you have an instant brand. You don’t want to think like yesterday going into tomorrow.

    Reply

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