Even my five-year-old son thinks you should always choose a .com domain name
We’re occasionally contacted by customers who report that mail isn’t arriving (when we can see that it is), or that their Web site is down (when we can see that it isn’t)…. and the mystery is eventually solved by the customer saying “Oh! Never mind. I own something.org [or something.net, or something.biz, etc.], but the person who had the problem was typing something.com”. Sometimes people even make this mistake with their own domain name.
As far as most people are concerned, “.com” means “the Internet” (and vice-versa). You can tell people “something.biz” till you’re blue in the face, but they’ll still often remember it as “something.com”. That’s a real problem if you own one but not the other.
For that reason, when people ask us what domain name they should get, we always suggest something ending with .com, not a different suffix — even if the different suffix seems better because it’s shorter. For example, we’d choose “tigertechnologies.com” over “tigertech.net” if we didn’t also own “tigertech.com”, because so many people type “www.tigertech.com” no matter what we say.
How ingrained is this problem? Well, last night I was reading a bedtime story to my five-year-old son, and it featured a dog sending an e-mail message to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This made him laugh uproariously. I figured he found the idea of a dog sending e-mail amusing, but no, that wasn’t it: “It’s funny because it’s supposed to be weeklybone.com, not weeklybone.dog!”
I have no idea how he even knows about “.com”. Kids these days! Maybe his older sister is telling him all about the Internet. <shudder>
Anyway, the point is that even five-year-olds who can’t yet read think “.com” means “the Internet”. If you’re deciding what domain name to buy, you should take advantage of that misunderstanding instead of fighting it. If you don’t, you’ll find that people sometimes claim they sent mail to “your” address that never arrived, or that they looked at “your” Web site but it wasn’t what they expected.
(By the way, if you’re one of our customers who already has a different suffix than .com, and the matching .com is available, you might want to get a domain name alias — a second domain name that works just like the first. That way you’ll have both.)