This blog is about technology, software and social media. It's aimed as much towards 'normal' people as the tech savvy. The author is Tony Gallacher.
If you plan to launch a new website, you should consider domain hacking.
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as you might think. ‘Domain hacks’ are just unconventional website names. They don’t end with one of the usual extensions like .com, .org or .co.uk. Music recommendation service last.fm and social bookmarking service del.icio.us are examples.
Domain hacks can make your website name sticky. They can establish your brand. They can help you get a relevant website name, without paying over the odds to cybersquatters. (Cybersquatters buy up possible website names, so that they can sell them on at a premium.)
Until recently, companies with domain hacks, often had to buy their equivalent .com name as well. That’s why you can also find last.fm at lastfm.com and del.icio.us at delicious.com. People were having trouble remembering website names with hippy dots, in odd places.
They were used to site names that ended with a nice, solid ‘.com.’ These days, Silicon Valley startups like mi.lk, vid.io and thisis.me are not using matching .com names. They don’t need to. Up ahead, standalone domain hacks will be commonplace.
ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in the process of introducing even more internet suffixes, called gTLDS. These are alternatives to .com, org etc. like .iiNet, for example. (I cover this more in Tech Post ICANN’s New Domains Get Coca-Cola Fizzing.)
While I don’t think the current gTLD programme will be a success, it (or a future programme) will definitely lead to more suffixes for website names. That will make alternatives to .com more widespread.
They work best when the whole website name explains what the site is for, when your site ‘does what it says on the tin.’ This is the case with last.fm, vid.io, thisis.me and about.me.
The other thing those names have in common is that the suffixes can standalone as a word or an acronym. For example, I/O is the short form of input/output, which is used by vid.io.
If you can use the dot as part of your company name, on other branding as well, your site will be easy for people to find.
It’s also a good way to let your customers know how clever and creative your organisation is.
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