Why should a startup pick an unknown domain extension rather than a .COM

Let’s take a step into my time machine and go back to the late 90’s, a time when .COM, .NET, and .ORG were the three domain name extensions you would think of when picking a domain name. Those were the good old days when there weren’t many choices so picking a domain name was a whole lot easier than it is today.

Now let’s fast forward to 2016 and there are more domain name extensions than you can shake a stick at, from .GURU to .XYZ, .CLUB to .WORLD, and the list goes on. Here’s the catch, all of these domain extensions are still early, most people don’t even know they exist, which means that you could either be incredibly early on a trend that’s going to catch-on like it’s going out of style, or you could be buying some magic beans that never amount to nothing.

At the same time if you’ve wanted to brand around a particular word, let’s say a word like “data” now is the time to do it. Companies like Data.world are raising $14M and they aren’t alone. We’re moving into a world where .COM might not be the end all be all. At the same time, domain names like Vivo.com are selling for north of $2M showing that .COM domain names are more valuable than ever.

So here’s the question. Why should a startup pick an unknown extension like a .CLUB, a .WORLD, or a .XYZ? If you can raise north of $10M without getting a .COM, what’s stopping you from picking another extension?

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Xavier.xyz December 19, 2016, 11:40 pm

    I think every startup should own their .com. Sure you can raise $M with another extension.. However, owning your .com will establish instant trust and credibility to your customers.

    I would prefer to use a short catchy url like Data.io than a long url like GetDataWorldllc.com

    I would not recommend using a new tld longer than 4 characters and that costs $xxxx/year in renewal fee…

    You can great really good .com names under $2,500.. This is really cheap considering a startup can raise $M!

  • Patrick Cowan December 20, 2016, 12:20 am

    Morgan, your URL say’s it all.

    • John December 21, 2016, 5:41 pm

      No kidding.

      Morgan, you always say your main focus is .com but you never seem to write anything positive about .com. You simply play both sides of the fence but always lean towards new extensions and quite often putting down .com. How about you be honest for once?

      Your posts just feel fake as all get out to me, especially if we go back in “you time machine” to 1999 when you were not even in the domain game. You started in 2006? You sure word that to make it sound like you have been around the block. Why not just say how you really feel about new TLD’s and maybe you’d get more respect from everyone.

      • Morgan December 23, 2016, 9:49 pm

        @John – not sure why you say that, I’ve written a lot about .COM and why it’s the main TLD I invest in. Here’s an example – http://morganlinton.com/two-word-coms-are-still-a-strong-choice-for-startups/

        As I’ve said many times, I think it would be stupid to put all your money into new gTLDs, most of my investment dollars go into .COM. That being said, I think there are some GREAT opportunities in new gTLDs and it would also be stupid to ignore this IMO…

  • LAVIEBIKA December 20, 2016, 12:27 am


  • Join Domains December 20, 2016, 12:31 am

    I would only get a new gtld if i had the corresponding aka : join.domains and joindomains.com beyond that you may need a big advertising budget to gain any traction, cheers

  • Julio Maysonet December 20, 2016, 12:42 am

    I don’t understand why would a startup will want a non .com for their business to loose traffic to the .com I see it as waste.

  • LAVIEBIKA December 20, 2016, 1:06 am


  • Michael December 20, 2016, 2:47 am

    2 million for vivo what! How did they get so much? and why? haha

  • Gene December 20, 2016, 6:50 am

    While a quick read through Venturebeat other Techcrunch will show a ton of examples of startups raising big money without a dot-COM, the quintessential example is Oneweb.WORLD…which just announced that it raised $1,200,000,000 (…that’s 1.2 BILLION for those who aren’t good with numbers!).

    And I doubt whether their huge corporate backers hesitated in writing those checks because they didn’t have/use the dot-COM.

    So consider this argument settled. Dot-Com is important, and still king, but no longer a ‘must have’ for branding purposes.

    • Reality December 20, 2016, 6:54 pm

      oneweb.world is a charity manufacturing satellites to provide internet access to the third world. They don’t need a brand as they don’t have any paying clients. Their domain could be pickledhat.fist for all the difference it would make.

  • Joe December 20, 2016, 10:36 am

    Hi Morgan, Users do not think about keyword extension that is what they read and memorize.

    We are in a new invasion of extensions that in the 90s with three extensions were more than enough.

    Now I for example register http://www.XYZNevada.xyz, http://www.XYZLasvegas.xyz and http://www.XYZLogos.xyz and by Twitter my followers give the click “I like” I wish that with “I like” sold but this is not the case and it’s frustrating to think that Dot-Xyz is from Daniel Niegel who make XYZ reality from the state of Nevada and in the city Las Vegas.

    These three premium domain names and to be able to sell change $ figure several times because as these are what Frank Shilling sells with his appraisal system ART etc ……. and if he or she had them already you would have sold them For over $ 5000 and I having the same as your selling almost certainly, I do not sell even at $ 2500.

    This is what the user you write that it takes time to get used to the new extensions, No Morgan if the domain investors themselves do not buy the art of these three XYZ domain names that are easy to remember as it begins and ends With the same letters, if this is not salable as you can write what you write in this post.

    The truth is too many extensions yesterday or today to get two more to the market storage and cam, as these two new extensions find many dot-com two easy words to remember with dot-com, net or org etc. TLD the usual for users Of the street of the whole world.

    Happy Holidays!

  • KoolBranding December 20, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Dot com is and will be for the foreseeable future the king of domains. But the new extensions make sense when both the right and left of the dot compliment each other. Example: Work.Online, Board.Games, Electronics.Store, NewYork.Rent, etc… This makes these domains more brandable and may give them better chance for trademarking (when including the dot). What is crazy is to register a domain where the left of the dot sounds crazy when combined with the domain extension, Yet some people are register some of these awful combinations as well.

  • joe December 20, 2016, 4:37 pm

    The madness is of all with the new extensions I remember that at the beginning of this gTLD was asked to Konstantinos Zournas because it had been spent or invested in new extensions $ 50,000 never saying anything. If I remember that I offered a domain name with extension point-vision and the question of this vision, I do not care the domain name began by vision and the extension was .vision I finally sold it for $ 15,000 to a German.

    I am excited to combine keywords with extensions, if not now sell do nothing different from Domain Parking now advertising companies from Nevada and Las Vegas apart from being reseller of web traffic 10000 visits day are traffic a month 300,000 and the next 600,000 visits The month and the third month will leave interested buyers ask first and then respond.

    All the crazy ones are interesting because we do not do anything to nobody we only have and we think different to others.

    Merry Christmas to those who call him “Dancing with the Wolves” great movie for a great country the present.

  • Mark Thorpe December 21, 2016, 9:24 pm

    A startup should not be picking an unknown domain extension as their primary online presence. .World is not going to get you onto Forbes or Fortune.
    Also, .Coms are liquid and more valuable, non-coms or new TLDs are not and never will be.
    A company could sell OneWeb.com easy and quickly if needed, good luck selling an illiquid .World domain name.

    Companies are also being bought for millions, just for their .Com domain name.
    I don’t see any companies being bought for millions that have .xyz .club .world extensions.

    Just imagine how much more a startup could raise by actually owning the exact match .Com instead of .World! I don’t see any Fortune 500 companies using .World as their main domain extension either.

    Sigh. I get a kick out of people online lately, promoting new TLDs or non-coms from their .Com website when they never did that before. Money talks I guess.


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