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.
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!