Today, people are still confused by the meaning of .com, even though it has been 30 years since the first .com domain name — Symbolics.com — was registered in 1985.
Here’s an example to illustrate the issue. During the DomainSherpa Discussion show aired on March 6, 2014, Michael Berkens mentioned a casual survey by Monte Cahn when he was doing a presentation at the Digital Marketing and gTLD Strategy Congress 2014. The conference was attended by a very educated crowd. Monte asked the audience what .com stands for and he got the following answers: company, community, and communication. None are correct. Even many professionals in the domain industry are not sure and interpret .com as “commercial.” Berkens said .com is “commerce.”
This was also mentioned by Frank Schilling when he wrote in his blog(?) on May 15, 2012: When I started using the Internet in 1993 .com was not dominant. Most content was on .int, .mil, .edu and .gov sites. I worked for a small ISP in 1995. The Internet’s early visitors abused our little company for trying to ‘conduct commerce’ on our website. ‘Everything online should be free!!’ or so went the refrain. Then, large brands started to move to .COM for ‘Commerce’ as in ‘All you technical purists dumping on me for trying to ‘SELL’ something online, take a chill pill and back-up, because I am using the DOT C O M M E R C E.’
So, .com was for “commerce” and was meant to be used in the USA as its default country extension. But, over the years, its meaning has expanded both in terms of geographical location and application fields, as follows:
Location: USA –> Global
Application fields: Commerce –> All
First, .com is global and TechCrunch is my guide. I read this online magazine everyday and I pay particular attention to startups with global ambition and their domain names. Most of them prefer .com if they can afford. Here are some examples:
|Country||Domain Name||Nature of Business|
|Africa||Mallforafrica.com||ecommerce (Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana)|
|Germany||CheckMyBus.com||book low-cost bus trips|
|India||Nowfloats.com||business discovery service|
|Indonesia||Happyfresh.com||grocery delivery app|
|Italy||Charitystars.com||auction for charity|
In China, .com ranks number 2 in terms of registration number (11m .com vs 20m for .cn), but is king in terms of prestige and price. Baidu Baike (encyclopedia) explains .com as the most popular global extension and registered by global companies. Baidu Jingyan (experience) further adds that .com is global and .cn is domestic. In other words, if you want to become a global player, you need .com. That’s why companies like Jing Dong and Le TV spent million dollars to acquire respective JD.com and Le.com.
Second, .com is used in commerce and beyond, and this year’s US presidential election is a preview of what to come to other countries. Among the initial US presidential candidates the majority own .com with exact match of their names. For example: HillaryClinton.com (Hillary Clinton), DonaldJTrump.com (Donald J Trump), and BernieSanders.com (Bernie Sanders).
I think the spread of .com is still in its early stage. Even though it is well established in the US and China, many countries such as Japan still have low recognition of .com. Also, .com will be used in politics, arts, entertainment, and many other fields all over the world. Well, this is only my speculation and I have no ability see into the future.