The new wacky world of domain names

The internet isn’t very old. This week marks the 25th anniversary of the very first web browser, Mosaic 1.0. It’s pretty amazing how far the usability of the internet has come in such a short span of years. Just think how much more a 25 year old can do compared to a baby!

Back in the days of vintage domains…

For a long time, the internet ran on a small list of domain extensions. And for many years this wasn’t a problem. With websites numbering only in the thousands or tens of thousands, there were still enough .com, .net, and .org domains to go around. But as the internet moved from “cool” to “necessity”, and the number of websites grew into the hundreds of millions, it had become exceedingly difficult to find available domain names. This led to a nervous land-grab mentality, in which people would buy up domains to save them for future use, or auction them off at blisteringly high prices — much like selling real estate in overpopulated areas.

And then something great happened.

In response to this rat-race, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) forged a way for the establishment of new general-use domain names. And over the past few years, domain name availability has exploded. There are now over 1,200 domain extensions available, with another 700 being considered. It’s like we’ve figured out how to colonize other planets and suddenly have nearly inexhaustible resources. No room in .com anymore? No problem. There are scores of ‘better’ domain extensions available now.

The new wacky world of domain selection

The first new extensions followed the familiar 3-letter pattern, such as .pro, .biz, and .web. And then, when people realized what a world of new domains could mean, the gloves came off and a torrent of descriptive domains appeared:

.basketball, .blackfriday, .christmas, .healthcare, .mortgage, .restaurant, .scholarships, .university…

And some downright silly ones:

.lol, .ninja, .rip, .sucks, .rocks

(Check out Name.com’s alphabetical menu for a full list.)

There are some pretty fun uses of these new domains, such as solongandthanksforallthe.fish.

Escape the rat-race and find the domain you've always wanted

With over 1,200 new possibilities, you can think more creatively about your choice of domain names. If you’re running a farm or greenhouse, you could grab a domain with .ag, .garden, or .farm. Or grab a .cafe or .coffee for your coffee shop. Or .law, .lawyer, or .legal for your firm. Or shorten the name of your church website with .church, and jump out of the clamour for .ca domains.

For the time being, .com still holds some prestige, marked as “premium” domains by some registrars. But I don’t think that will last for long. As the world grows accustomed to the flexibility of domain names, generic domains will pale in comparison to more descriptive ones.

The internet, after all, isn’t an overly formal place. May as well have some .fun with it.