I believe that when it comes to choosing a top-level domain, this is subjective and depends on the industry/target market. But despite the fact that more and more top-level domains (TLDs) are getting introduced, .com still carries a lot of value, especially for US and international businesses that can’t benefit from a local TLD.
Both the original question and Eilon Reshef’s answer suggest that .io is common. I can only enumerate a small subset of .io B2B SaaS startups that have been around for longer than 2 years. Moreover, I went to SaaS 1000: List of the Top SaaS Companies and scanned through the first 300 startups – over 90% of those use .com domain names.
It also includes some company domains that are not necessarily SaaS – but still aggregates enough data.
Startups related to development/technology or big data that could probably go with a .io domain. Otherwise, I don’t think it’s truly practical in most cases.
Some Tips When Looking for A Top-Level Domain
- I’d make a good effort to get a .com domain.
- Or even contact the original domain owner and get a quote on buying it.
- You can also use a domain auction service to find similar domain names.
- Check with a domain generator app that shuffles some handy names and verifies for the available domains.
- Figure out a suffix that could be combined with a domain – like Delicious or something that ends up in .us, .co, .it, .uk, .me.
Sure, most .com domains are already purchased. Some are still available – especially for names that don’t use an actual dictionary word.
At the end of the day, picking the wrong domain won’t kill your business. Great startups can pivot and generate enough traction which even lets them change their domain later (such as Buffer or Sumo).
But even Buffer went for bfffr.com and later bufferapp.com instead of an alternative TLD. Sumo was SumoMe.com earlier. Twitter started as twttr dot com. Dropbox couldn’t get their existing domain and used getdropbox dot com.
While that was early on, I feel that everyone is quite attached to a good old .com domain.