Top Level Domain Registration
An Internet top level domain name is part of an organization or business's online address; specifically, this refers to the letters following the last dot in the web address, such as .com or .org. Some top level domains are off limits to most people, such as .gov, .mil, and .edu, as they are reserved for government, military, and education websites, respectively. However, more generic names such as .com, .org, .biz, and .net are open to individual and business uses, and top level domain registration in these categories is available to just about anyone. Another option that is gaining popularity is the use of country code top level domain names such as .uk (for persons in the United Kingdom) and .us (for persons in the United States). Whichever option one chooses, putting a business online is absolutely essential in today's technology-driven world.
Whether the business is medical, commercial, or non-profit, going online can only be beneficial, as almost everyone searches for the services they need on the Internet. When a person moves to a new town, she often checks online for a doctor or dentist; when she needs to buy a couch, she does her Internet homework; when she wants to buy some rare, hard-to-find item like a sea monkeys aquarium or a turquoise bolo tie, she hits an online search engine. This is where a good Internet top level domain name comes in; the goal is to be on the first page of an online shopper's search engine results, flashing a web address that is appropriate, catchy, trustworthy, and professional. Good advice is to choose a name that accurately reflects the business and that is short and memorable, without being misleading. The requirements: the name must be between two and sixty-three characters and may contain numbers, letters, and hyphens, but cannot contain special characters such as the exclamation point or asterisk; also, a hyphen cannot be positioned as the first or last character.
Top level domain registration is a relatively easy process and can often be inexpensive, costing $10 to $35 a year. Interested persons must register with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and either buy a web hosting package or provide their own hosting services. Choosing a service that provides 24 hour a day toll free phone and e-mail support might be the best way to get the full benefits of a purchase. Also, businesses planning to buy or sell products on the website will need to buy online shopping cart software. Anticipating these additional expenses, businesses might seek to purchase an Internet top level domain in a package that includes web hosting and shopping cart, which should simplify the set-up process and save money as well.
Because so many good web address names are already taken by a .com or .org, many businesses are turning to country code top level domains to get the name they want for online exposure. Increasingly popular is the choice to use .us or .za for top level domain registration in order to avoid obscure or awkward web addresses. Another option for business owners finding their desired name taken on .com and not wanting to settle for a weird substitute is to purchase a premium domain, which is a previously existing but unused web address that uses important key words and popular search terms that will stream search-engine users directly to one's business. This is an expensive option, but definitely promises increased traffic to one's site, which should result in increased sales and service. Interested persons can easily search through thousands of related web names to find one that works for a particular business, and while these domains are not necessarily unique, they are generally short and memorable and get the advertising done quite nicely.
Business owners might consider buying more than one Internet top level domain and streaming them all to one URL, in order to avoid having businesses with the same name benefit from their company's popularity or having their company confused with another. Also, if a business or individual feels that they will require the use of a domain in the future, advance buying is an excellent idea. Buying ahead and not using the web address right away is better than waiting and losing the domain to another company. However, buyers should be aware that there are limits to the amount of time a purchased domain may remain inactive and should ask the provider at the time of registration. Of course, if the buyer does not need the web address after all, he can always sell it to someone else, sometimes at a highly profitable rate.
Like other advertising investments, top level domain registration is one step in the path to business success, but the Bible teaches that the true path is found through honest and fair business dealings. One wise proverb says, "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). Even in this age of globalization, a good name and a reputation for honesty, kindness, and genuine concern for the customer is still what matters; having a catchy, effective web address might help get one's name out, but keeping that good name is up to the business owner. Sometimes in business, customers don't care as much about who is the most professional, the most technologically savvy, the most trendy or "with it," but rather care about finding a business that keeps its promises, treats its customers and the natural environment with respect, and works in a way that is unmistakably just.
New Domain ExtensionsNew domain extensions have recently been approved by ICANN which stands for the International Association for Names and Numbers, the body which approves new web name add ons. This is a good thing because many individuals and businesses have very creative domain names but can't use them because someone already has the domain name and a well known extension. For those who are used to pounding out dot com, dot org or dot net, we will have to learn to like or at least get used to other add ons because they are definitely on the way. Many of the types of domain extensions that are already available or becoming available are based on other countries' names, as will be explained in a little while. But let's take a fictional company looking to get just the right web address add ons because this newly formed business sells gnus. A new gnu business.
Why is there a need for new domain extensions or add-ons? Consider that there are now billions of web pages available for perusal, each requiring an IP or Internet protocol address. An IP is the binary number that a website hosting service turns from a human language form into a form the computer understands. So the needs for more types of web address add-ons become necessary because just as builders are searching for more and more land on which to build housing communities which then have streets on which there are houses and each house needs an address, the Internet needs more and more web address add-ons on which websites can be built and given addresses or IPs. Either addresses get longer or newly created types of web address add ons are developed.
New web address add ons or ones that haven't been used very much are fairly easy to find if a person just uses the key words "new domain extensions." Because Gnu dot com was already taken the new gnu commerce venture began looking at all the types of web address add ons available to it and became amazed at those sitting out there that hadn't been seen very much. Dot museum, dot aero, dot pro and dot coop are all domain extensions that have been around for a while but don't show up very often. The new gnu business owner thought that none of those extensions would really work. So the owner became aware of the many extensions related to countries were available. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end there of are the ways of death." (Proverbs 13:12)
While prices for dot com extensions can often be rather inexpensive, such as fifteen dollars a year for many, prices for a country's web address add on can be pricier. All of the following extensions are available for everyone except a few. Dot cn is China's and can be had for thirty five dollars and year. Dot de is Germany at forty a year, .fr is France for one hundred dollars a year, .it is Italy for forty dollars a year, .la is a good one for Los Angeles based companies but can also be used for Louisiana and Latin America. Surprisingly, types of domain extensions also include .sr which is the add on for the South American country of Surinam is perfect for businesses dealing with senior adults, but that extension is two hundred and seventy five dollars a year!
Other new domain extensions in recent years include .fm for that type of radio station, .am for that breed of radio, .tv which should be very popular for multi media businesses and how about .tk, an extension for Tokelau Island but open for anyone to use? Amazingly, the .us web address add on isn't seen very much and quite available at reasonable prices. In addition dot uk, .name, .md and .mobi for those using only a cell phone to do business are available. But the ICANN, in just recent weeks has opened nine more new web address add-ons for use. Our new Gnu looked at these add-ons very carefully.
Dot asia, for all the new businesses sprouting in that region, .cat for what else but feline lovers, .jobs, .mail, .post, .tel and .travel were all approved for newly created name extensions. So the new Gnu business owner looked at all of these types of domain extensions over quite closely. Gnu.info had some possibilities but it was a little bland, gnu.name was kind of cute, gnu.net sounded something to go out and catch a gnu with, gnu.it sounded a little too egocentric, and gnu.to sounded much too like the beginning of a question a neighbor might ask someone just moving into a neighborhood.
Perhaps the owner of the new gnu commerce venture would never be able to find one of the new domain extensions perfect for the business. Discouragement reigned supreme until the man looked over all of the notes again he had taken from online research and came across the one the owner believed absolutely perfect for the business. In fact, the man then remembered that in his research, this particular extension, of the many types of domain extensions, was being embraced wildly by young techies and the entire younger demographic. Nothing could be more exciting than getting the younger generations interested in raising and promoting the gnu population throughout the planet than a domain name and extension that could easily be remembered by that demographic. The extension the gnu venture owner had missed was the extension .nu. What could be cooler than the address, www.gnu.nu? Go figure.