The domain name management system has evolved in strange, unintended ways. Small countries, with great two-letter country-code domain extensions – have found themselves as popular domains outside of their own countries. Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) have been the mainstay of the internet since the web started. But it’s a very crowded domain space. Country-code domains (ccTLDs) have become very popular in their specific country markets. However, there are a few instances where ccTLDs have become de facto gTLDs in their own right because they’ve been adopted widely outside their own countries. We’ve rounded up a few of the most popular and versatile for you to consider when developing your start-up business, SME, website, or brand.
Originally the country domain name for the Pacific island of Tuvalu, this domain has become synonymous with the entertainment industry and television. It means TV around the world and has seen wide adoption for this use, despite having a higher price point than most popular gTLDs.
The ongoing joke is that the .IO ccTLD is a domain in search of a country. No one actually lives in the British Indian Ocean territory (except for an American Naval/Air Force Base), but the country domain name has become very popular in the tech industry. I/O is a computing term (meaning input/output), so it’s popular with software start-ups. It’s also easy to find the right domain for your start-up when many possible names haven’t been reserved in the .IO namespace.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the fastest-growing industries in tech, and the .AI domain name space has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. Originally the domain name for Antigua and Barbados, it’s now the first domain name that tech start-up go-to for unique artificial intelligence and machine learning-related domain names.
One of the most popular ccTLD used as a generic domain name extension, .CO has long been known as the .COM alternative. If the .COM domain name you wanted wasn’t available, oftentimes the .CO version was available. Originally the country domain name for Colombia, it’s seen widespread adoption all over the world with those seeking to get a good alternative to .COM.
Guernsey is a tiny island in the English Channel, closer to France than it is to England that has an interesting history. It’s domain name – .GG – has also become surprisingly popular on the international stage. .GG is an initialism for ‘gaming group’ or ‘good game.’ And with the rise of private Discord chat servers, .GG has become one of the most used domain names in this space.
The official domain name for Montenegro has become synonymous with personal branding, and these days most people looking for a domain name will start with .ME as the perfect way to brand their online identity. It’s a juggernaut with over 1 million domains registered. Despite this, many names are still available. If you want to secure your personal brand online, start with .ME.
If the .ME domain name you want is taken, consider registering .IM, the official country-code domain name for the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. In addition to personal branding, it’s also become popular with link shorteners and anyone looking to have a short domain name. The .IM domain namespace is not nearly as big as .ME, so there’s a lot of shorter domain names still available (for example I recently picked up my three initials as a .IM domain).
FM is synonymous with radio as the most widespread technology used in broadcast radio (even as it has been replaced by DAB in most places). If you’re doing anything in the audio space, it pays to secure a .FM domain name, which frankly is rather expensive. The official country code of the Federated States of Micronesia (a bunch of formerly American islands in the Pacific Ocean), if you plan to work in the online audio space, secure your .FM domain first before someone else does.
This country-code domain name for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has become very popular in the Venture Capital space as venture funds seek the perfect prestigious domain name for the online brand. It’s also popular with programmers who use it for version control (perfect for a private GIT repository) and the video conferencing industry now that we’re all living in virtual meetings while we work from home.
The domain name for Belgium has become very popular outside of Belgium since ‘be’ is a common word in several languages. While you need a connection to Belgium to register one (we can help with this), having a .BE can be a very useful domain hack. For example, YouTube uses a .BE domain name for its URL shortener.
The .IT domain is the official country-code domain name for Italy, and it is very popular in that market. However, the domain has become very popular outside of Italy because of all the useful domain hacks that it can be used for me because ‘it’ is a common English phrase and also stands for the massive information-technology industry. Many start-ups and brands have latched on to the domain to create a unique online identity. Anyone can register a .IT name as long as they’re within the EU.
Looking to find the perfect domain to get your SME or the next big tech start-up off the ground? Begin your search with Blacknight – we have hundreds of domain name extensions to choose from.