While most of my focus is on .COM, I’m also a pretty big fan of .IO which I’ve talked about quite a bit on my blog over the past few years. When it comes to a .COM alternative for tech startups, .IO is very high on the list, often put ahead of .NET which was the second choice for so many companies for decades.
Like I said above, my focus is .COM so when I do buy a .IO domain, I do even more homework than usual to make sure that it has some real potential. I also look out for any red flags that could let me know that it’s likely to be a dud.
One of the biggest red flags I look for is if the .NET, .ORG, .ME, and .CO are all either parked (i.e. owned by other investors) or not registered, then I often look the other way. If the other top 2nd-choice extensions are parked, to me, this is a sign that a lot of other people also thought an end-user would be interested but so far they’ve all been wrong, so far.
In the case that the .NET, .CO, or .ME is still available to register I usually will pass since it feels like an end-user could just say, “why buy the .IO if the .NET is available?” I think that buyers look at .IO typically start by looking at the .COM, they find out it’s too expensive and so they start going with their second choice.
While they might see .IO as the next in line, most people will check other extensions like .NET, .ME, and .CO and if one is available to register, they’ll probably just snag it. In the case that none of these are available to register, that’s where I think .IO really shines since it is often seen as the top choice more and more now over other .COM alternatives TLDs.
Just to make sure people don’t confuse what I’m saying here. By no means should you read this post and think, okay I’m going to go buy a bunch of .IO domains. I really only recommend that people invest in .COM because I think any other extension is significantly more risky. That being said, if you do buy .IO and want to try your hand in non .COM sales, make sure to do a lot more homework and look out for the red flag I mentioned in this post.