When you’re preparing to launch a new startup, the domain name is critical. However, there are fewer and fewer dot com names to choose from – and purchasing one can be expensive.
When I launched Geogram, I chose to purchase the dot com domain name. However, for my latest projects Filtered and EasyList, I decided to go with a new gTLD extension, .io. In geek terms, .io means input/output … but it’s also synonymous with the innermost of Jupiter’s moons. Google treats .io in search results like a generic domain extension – so it can be used globally by startups, whereas other country extensions might not show up when people run searches.
.io extensions are more expensive than .com domain names but there is much greater availability. What’s $30 annually extra for your awesome startup idea? Domai.nr has proven a useful tool to find available domains in various extensions e.g. .com, .io, et al. It also offers a handy iphone app. You might also check out WordPress.com’s new acquisition, LeanDomainSearch.
I’m using Gandi.net to purchase and manage my .io domains – so far this has worked well.
Domain investors do not yet value .io domains very highly on their own – so it’s best to purchase .io domains only as you see specific use for them. That said, I have invested in a few .io domains such as cycling.io and snowboard.io.