One common question I come across is from people who can’t get the “.com” domain of their choice, but find the “.net”, “.org” or other country-specific top level domains (TLDs) obtainable (like .de, .nu, .sg, etc). Should they try for these?
The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. If your website or industry caters to the neighboring community, such as a pizza delivery business or recruitment agency or the like, then it makes sense to get a country-specific domain. You actually benefit from having such a local domain because the folks in your country know that they’re dealing with a local entity, which is what they want. After all, if they stay in the United Kingdom, they’re not likely to want to try to order pizza from pizzaparlour.com, which suggests an international site. You’ll have better luck calling it pizzaparlour.co.uk, ie, with a UK domain.
What if yours is a site or business that can gain from an international audience? There are actually many schools of thought on this. I’ll just mention a few regular ones.
The first school of thought goes on the premise that it is better to have a domain name of your choice “myperfectdomain” even if it has a TLD of “.net”, “.org” or some other country specific extension, than to end up selecting an obscure domain name for the simple reason you can’t get your first choice. Thus they would settle for domain names like “myperfectdomain.de” or “myperfectdomain.net” etc. Opposed to this is the argument that if you get a country specific domain, people might think that your business only caters to that country.
Another school of thought finds that “.net” and “.org” extensions are actually quite suitable domain names. For some, the “.org” extension actually describes the non-profit nature of their organisation. So, for example, the famous Apache web server can be found at “apache.org”.
Others settle for the “.com” extension and no less. As basis for their arguments, they cite the browser algorithms used to locate a website when a user simply types a name like “acme” into the browser. It appears that, the browser searches for a domain name “acme.com” before attempting “acme.net”, etc. As such, people who do that will be delivered to your competitor’s site if you do not also own the “.com” extension. Indeed, even if people do not rely on their browser to complete their typing, many simply assume a “.com” extension when they type a domain name, so if your business is “Acme”, they’ll just assume your domain name is “acme.com” rather than “acme.net” or some other such name.