The Meaninglessness of .COM ?

Domain - what domain name to choose

Mason Cole wrote a post on the Donuts blog about Semantics, Affinity and that .com is meaningless. Of course Mr.Cole has a vested interest in .com becoming meaningless. It is probably also true that .com will still have value long after many new gtlds flame out.

I get being high on your product and believing in it, I really do, but to make these statements about .com just seem like a stretch, they smell of being forced. Week in and week out it is .com that dominates the sales charts, it is .com where the biggest and best businesses are built 9 out of 10 times. Now I know we are early in the new gtld ballgame and it would be foolish to expect a ton of sales, but some that were actually resold by a registrant not the registry, would be nice. The new gtlds have their place but one could also make an argument for too niche, too specific, that a business that wants to grow may be pigeon holed by too specific of an extension.

I did think Mason made credible points on semantics and affinity but for domain investors they also have to be concerned with liquidity and an active market. Of course Donuts has a different business model from domain investors, they can be very successful while registrants fail.

From the article:

 COM has become diluted and meaningless. It adds nothing to an identity. Except perhaps to say, “I’m on the Internet somewhere.” .COM is “1999”—not “today,” and definitely not the future. New .COM registrations are extraordinarily long and much less meaningful when compared to a new registration in a new gTLD. And with its recent price decreases on new registrations (which apparently is necessary to match their low quality), .COM now means “low quality and cheap.”

.CITY, .COMPANY, .GALLERY, .FAMILY, .SHOES? And tons more to come…now those have meaning. Specificity. Affinity. They’re unique, fresh and expressive and not old and worn out.

Read the full article here


  1. says

    You’ve got to hand it to Donuts! They practice what they preach.

    Nobody could ever accuse Donuts of taking a meaningful TLD, the proud symbol of los Colombianos, stripping it of its natural meaning and relevance, and then using it as a .COM knockoff.

    As a company that’s ALL about domains, Donuts didn’t hesitate to base its interactions with the world at large on the most relevant, meaningful TLD for what they do:

  2. Snoopy says

    His claims are full of holes,

    e.g. this one,

    “The power of affinity can be seen in markets where .COM was once dominant but is now a distant second to domains that show national identity (e.g., .DE for Germany, .UK for Britain, .AU for Australia)”

    I’ve lived in Australia all my life and .com has never been “dominant”. It has been a a distant 2nd since the Internet became popular. I can’t remember any company in this country that has “abandoned .COM in favor of TLDs that highlight national identity”. They almost all started with

    I see he has also turned off comments for his post.

  3. Mason Cole says

    Thanks for the comments, Raymond, much appreciated. We do think affinity and relevance are particularly important as we move into a much wider namespace — which is overdue.

    Appreciate the post.

  4. Robin Jilderda says

    I like you point Snoopy. I live in Canada and most of the large companies and organizations use the .ca in their advertising. Target the large retailer from the USA just moved into Canada and uses as their website brand hear not a sub domain off the .com. I do believe that most large businesses here also own the .com of their name.

  5. Kassey says

    ” .com where the biggest and best businesses are built 9 out of 10 times”

    I read Techcrunch’s startup page almost everyday, and what do I see? .com where the new and potentially biggest and best businesses are built 9 out of 10 times.

  6. says

    .com is never going to go down and will always be the King. I remember selling a .com to an Australian company for $15k when they decided to go international. They were using the till then.

    If you do a general survey, i’m sure you will see that more than 90% of the people don’t even know about the new tlds.

    Having said all these, it’s becoming tough to find good .com domains.

    • says


      Most observers would agree that you’re right about .COM coming after .COM.AU for Australian companies. Ditto .CO.UK and Brits.

      I’m not sure that “it’s becoming tough to find good .com domains”. Buyers in today’s market are wading up to their waist in phenomenal .COMs.

      Maybe it’s hard to hand-register good .COMs. And maybe it’s hard to find cheap .COMs of quality. Yet I think the difficulty is often overstated on both counts.

      Mainly — and I’m sure you meant this — it’s true that most of the obviously good .COMs are priced higher than the average person wants to pay.

      That doesn’t always mean $5,000,000 price tags, though. Lots of great .COMs are sitting on the shelves for a few hundred or somewhere in the low thousands.

      For most end-user projects, that cost — thought of as a long-term investment — is still dirt cheap! And in those cases where the price really is too high for buyers, most sellers will eventually adjust their expectations downward to fall in line with market realities.

      Good .COMs are frequently much cheaper than the premium-priced nTLDs competing against them, actually.

      Mainly, it’s a question of educating buyers. They can find good .COMs with very little trouble in minutes. And they can usually afford them, once they wrap their minds around the idea of paying more than reg fee.

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