What New gTLD Will Be The Best For Startups?

With new gTLDs hitting the market over the next 12-18 months I see a great opportunity for startups, not all startups but some startups. I still think that well-funded startups with good marketing budgets shouldn’t be afraid to spend six-figures on a solid .COM. That being said, a startup that is building an app really doesn’t need a website very badly, just look at the website for Vine:


Vine.com, on the other hand is a completely different website and while I’m sure there is some leakage it definitely isn’t having any impact on Vine at all given that it’s been breaking records left and right.

At the same time if you look at TLDs like .IO you can see tons of startups building on these as their primary domain and seeing very strong traction. The list of funded startups using .IO is growing like crazy, I’ve talked to dozens of them and none of said they see any major loss to the .COM. Many of them want the .COM but don’t have the budget for it.

Once again, let me re-iterate what I said above. If a startup has the marketing budget for a .COM and they are running a business where their website is the core of their business then I think a .COM is incredibly valuable.

However let’s look at all the brand-new bootstrapped startups with budgets under $5,000. These companies really can’t afford their top choice .COM, it’s not going to happen, so they have to go with something else to get started. Right now I see startups gravitating towards .ME, .CO and .IO with a sprinkling of some other TLDs and ccTLDs like .IT and .ES.

With new gTLDs there are more options for bootstrapped startups to build their brand on. So my question to you is, what new gTLD will be the best for startups?

Comment and let your voice be heard! 

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Brad Mugford November 11, 2013, 2:27 pm

    The best gTLD for startups is hands down .COM.
    I am not sure why most startups need a domain budget over $5K honestly.

    95% of all domain sales are under $5K and with a little creativity a startup can easily find an appropriate domain that is available in that range in .COM.

    Being a startup is already tough, trying to build on some unknown extension just makes it that much harder. It is swimming upstream.


  • Alan Dodd - NameDream.com November 11, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Now that is a question! Here are some Monday musings:

    Taking a startup which is app centric. In this case – does it even matter at all? Do these startups even need the Gtlds with all the hacks out there?

    I guess it depends on the odds of the startup wishing to eventually be also on the web for PC users etc.

    The higher the odds they are going to be on the web old Skool, then the more the dot-com and traffic seepage issues come into play.

    I remember someone saying years ago there are no rules in naming and I agree with that.

    I would say anyone should be able to get a brilliant dot com for $5k. I believe it’s a psychological issue. If you believe you can get a brilliant two word name for your startup budget then you can create that reality.

    If you really think it’s not possible, then you will create that reality.

    Another thing: Seth Godin, SEO and naming: if you go for a generic dictionary word then this might be harm your Seo if users type in your name ie Seth Godin invented Seth Godin to guarantee his Seo.

  • todd November 11, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Here is a fun piece of info. Vine.com was registered april of 1987 which makes it the 71st domain name to ever be registered. Pretty cool.
    Vine.com is owned by Quidsi and their brands are Vine.com, Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com, Casa.com, Look.com, Bookworm.com, Afterschool.com, YoYo.com and BeautyBar.com. That’s one impressive list.
    In 2006 Quidsi had 2 employees and now in 2013 has over 1,000 employees. Quidsi was bought by Amazon in 2011 for 500 million dollars.

  • Nick November 11, 2013, 7:23 pm

    .io is the way to go.

  • Nick November 11, 2013, 7:23 pm

    IO is the way to go.

  • Cate Colgan November 11, 2013, 7:56 pm

    Whatever one will work for them! Execution of their product/service first – options/opportunity abound! 🙂

  • Irfan November 11, 2013, 10:25 pm

    I’ve gone through new gTLDs list and found most of them have a category and then sub categories. An individual looking to start a hotel may invariably choose a .hotel extension over any other and similarly all other new gTLDs will work and create their own market.
    But, how many will actually brand their website with a new gTLD extension is a big question?

  • Jean Guillon November 12, 2013, 1:21 am

    The best domain name for any Rugby website will be .RUGBY, certainly not .COM !

  • Brad Mugford November 12, 2013, 4:42 am

    I also want to point out some other things related to the new gTLD.

    The extensions that might have the most demand (.Web, .App, etc) are potentially many years off. They have many applications and contention sets that need to be resolved.
    On ICANN’s own auction schedule it will take 2-3 years to resolve these contention sets. That is probably a best case scenario considering other issues as well (GAC advice, objections, legal issues, private use, etc.).

    Most of the extensions that are coming out soon will have limited demand. By the time the extensions come out that people might be interested in, the field will be littered with failed registries.

    Are startups really going to put their business on hold for a few years for a chance to get the .APP or .WEB they want?

    Also, a lot of the interest related to new gTLD is because the average person thinks they are going to get a top term for cheap. It is not going to happen. The registries exist to make money and will be maximizing their top terms via auctions, direct sales, and variable pricing models.


  • Alan Dodd - namedream.com November 12, 2013, 11:45 am

    @ Brad

    Thanks for the info. So even though Godaddy say you can pre-register .app soon, in fact this won’t be available for possibly years?

    In the meantime, Godaddy takes a nice little luxury pre-registration fee? lol!

    I must admit to liking .build. I went to pre-register the following:


    All taken!! Even keeping track of pre-registrations is tough!

    The only thing is, will UniRegistry not do it fairly?

  • Dan November 14, 2013, 2:17 am

    @Brad has certainly hit the nail on the head regarding the financial model for the new gTLD’s. Thing about it – anyone shelling out the $185,000 application fee, $25,000 a year registration fee, plus operational costs, not least to mention that looking at the first few contention auctions the actual end price for a .whatever is averaging around $1.5m!!! Any quality keyword.whatever’s will be expected to sell for a huge premium, just to recoup the outlay. Realistically speaking the new gTLD’s only have 3 strong revenue streams – personal name.whatever, brand.whatever and keyword.whatever. The Personal one’s are not amazingly valuable, the Brand’s are limited by trademark’s invariably and the Keywords will be where the only really value is. Given how limited the .whatever’s may be, the range of keywords won’t be as great as for a .com and therefore they aren’t either recognisable enough or warrant high valuations. My final 2c worth, .IO is only worth bothering with for true IT-related brands, such as import.io who have done a good job with it. Anyone else is riding on a fad. .com is still by far and away the most authoritative and recognisable brand and there are still plenty at affordable levels. Just don’t assume any amazing keyword.com’s are still available for $10! You can’t buy a shop in the USA for $10k anymore can you?!

  • Em November 15, 2013, 1:20 am

    The majority of the public are still using flip phones, meanwhile, we’re looking beyond multiple versions of Android and iPhone, eager to taste what’s next, know what I mean? The influencers are buying into a fad that is 8-10 years out and there is a huge disconnect.

    It seems that brand consistency isn’t important because they are the Warren Buffets of the domain industry, completely buying out the new fads and will keep tight lipped or buying a little and telling us how much it sucks.

    They waterboard the industry with a new speculation and it’s up those who have learned lessons over the years, you know, those who don’t have a few hundred thousand to spare, to educate the public. A steal for the more dominant investor and yet another new, very different kind of chaos and confusion for the rest of us.

    Some of us are comfortable with our own version of chaos but if the big players force evolution, it will flop and growth will be slow, and you’ll have cross eyed babies with missing chromosomes born from a petri dish, confirming .COM is KING.


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