This diagram shows the percentages of websites using various top level domains. See technologies overview for explanations on the methodologies used in the surveys.
NOTE: the percentages listed below are a percent of all websites on the web.
From the chart above, we can see that the .COM TLD is clearly the most popular (with 53% of all websites using .COM). .NET is a distant second with just 5.7%. Our friend, .CO, comes in nearly last with just 0.3% of all websites using that TLD.
So, you’ve chosen your domain name, but when you go to register it, the .com version is already taken. What do you do? Chances are, your domain registrar has already suggested you switch to .org, .net, .biz, or some other top-level domain. But should you?
Many believe the .COM domain is the only domain worth purchasing because that’s the one that most people assume when typing in domains. While it’s true that .COM domains are the most popular (see above table), there are lots of businesses which use other top-level domains without a problem.
What you have to think about is how your customers are going to access your site. If they are going to type in your company name into the URL bar and hit enter, then getting the .com domain is a must. But if you can brand your site with the .net or .us and get people used to using that, it won’t matter. Another solution is to use the TLD as part of your entire corporate name. The well-known social bookmarking site Delicious does this quite well with their domain: http://del.icio.us/.
After .COM, the .NET and .ORG TLDs are the most popular. There used to be a distinction that .ORG domains were for non-profits and .NET domains were for Internet companies. But as there is no regulation, that quickly went out the window. And these days, anyone can get a .ORG or .NET domain name.
Perhaps the only real drawback to these TLDs is that some registrars charge extra for them.
This school of thought says that if you have the perfect domain name, one that is memorable, easy to spell, and catchy, it won’t matter what TLD it has. This is true if you have a company name that is already well established and you don’t want to change it to accomodate a website domain. Then, becoming “mycompanyname.biz” is preferable to some other domain name even though it’s on a less popular TLD.
Not to say that spammers are the only ones that use .biz domains, but there is a general distrust of these domains. I wouldn’t rely on a domain name with a .biz TLD unless I had no other choice. But this attitude is slowly changing. In a few years, these domains may be perfectly reasonable.
Since it’s release, the .CO TLD has been gaining momentum (albeit slowly). W3Technologies runs daily analysis on TLD usage statistics and shows us the following trend chart. Click here for the original.
Within this 1-year dataset, we see that usage of the .CO TLD has grown in popularity from around 0.2% of all websites to almost 0.3%.
That might sound insignificant, but consider that there are now approximately 633 million websites in the world (source). That means that a 0.1% jump in usage equates to 633,000 websites using this TLD.