One of the very first Top-Level Domains (TLD) established in January 1985, .COM has since grown to become the world's most popular TLD. Dozens of other TLDs are now available, but no matter how many new extensions may be added, everyone agrees — .COM is still the “Rodeo Drive of the Web.” (CNNMoney.com) Do you have yours?
Everybody knows and recognizes a .com domain name. Dot com is not just an Internet address but has become a catch phrase for an entire period of economic growth and a social term. During the 90s, the Internet began to catch on and the dot com boom began. Startup companies launched businesses using the Internet, rather than brick and mortar buildings, and made hundreds of millions of dollars doing business.
People who would never have had the funds to start a business could now do it for as little as a yearly registration fee to reserve a .com domain name. Add in some good design and the business you were running out of a closet in your house looked as large and respectable as IBM. “Dot Com-ers” was the term applied to young tech professionals who seemed to have the Midas touch and no fashion sense.
In the social world it didn’t matter, money smoothed over all the rough edges that would have resulted in someone being called a “geek” or “nerd” before. Now, even geek and nerd are sought after social titles. This is the social effect that the dot com experience has had. There is even the “dot com” generation, a term used to describe kids born into houses laden with technology who have never known a world without cellphones, texting and Internet access.
The .com domain name was one of the seven original top level domain names issued by ICANN when the Internet began. Each domain name is assigned an IP address, which is a numeric sequence that helps to identify and locate the site and allows for the exchange of information packets between the host computers and user computers.
While there seemed to be ample potential IP addresses available, especially when they could be separated into seven variations – it quickly became apparent that this would not be the case for long. The Internet began to grow so fast that there was a very real danger that ICANN would run out of viable addresses by the 2020s. To make matters more urgent, as people began to take to the Internet like fish to water, they were doing so from the point of using it as entertainment and for personal use, not commercial or technological so the understanding of how addresses were to be assigned was not important.
What people knew was that dot com meant success and it meant the Internet. Everyone wanted a .com domain name and soon, all the prime names for brands and more were being registered not just by random users, but by what were to become known as domain brokers. Domain brokers are people who gamble on the popularity of a name and register it before there is a need. Then, they will turn and sell it at a very high price (sometimes millions) to someone wanting to use it.
There were numerous cases where long established brands had to pay for the right to use their own names on the Internet. This is what led to the development of the Sunrise period, where before a new domain name is opened for public registration brands are allowed to apply for the rights to their own name.
In the 2000s there was a brief challenge to the dominance of the .com domain name as the address of choice and that challenge came from the domains of dot mobi. Dot mobi is used to signify mobile friendly sites, or sites specifically designed and coded for ease of use on a cell phone. While more and more users are accessing the Internet via cell phones, the mobi threat was short lived.
As technology continues to advance, smart phones and even full featured phones that were capable of using full Internet browsers are becoming cheaper and more commonplace. This means that there is less of a need to create special sites for mobile technology and more dot com sites that will fluidly adjust to a user’s screen size and capabilities on the fly. Good dot come names are increasingly hard to come by and expensive. With thought and research, you can still come up with one that will work well for your company, but a .com domain name is no longer a requirement for success on the Internet.