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Should a website logo include the TLD ".net"?

Background to my specific case:

I'm in the process of redesigning / relaunching a website, which includes redesigning the site logo. The site is moving to a new domain name, where it used to be hosted as a subsite on another company's site.

The site's logo is fairly simple text with colours, where the text matches the new domain name. It's included at the top-left corner of all pages on the site.

Some considerations:

  • The old URL was (oursite).(hostingsite).com. The new URL is (oursite).net.
  • Nobody owns (oursite).com - it's not a URL that exists at the moment.
    • Edit: Based on the feedback below I registered (oursite).com. Now I have to choose which of .com and .net to use as the primary site name...
  • I will of course have redirects in place for all pages on the old site to corresponding pages on the new site.
  • Since most mobile keyboards have ".com" built in, you should at least buy the .com domain. Is there a reason why your site is going to .net instead of .com? – David Sep 26 '14 at 0:42
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    I don't know about other mobile OSes, but iOS also offers .net, .org, .edu (and in my case .ca as I'm a Canadian user) if you hold down on the . key in a URL or email field. – Tim FitzGerald Sep 26 '14 at 1:38
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If the company name (or the web site) is a generic word for what you sell, keep the TLD, otherwise don't.

Examples:

  • ebay.com - they don't need to keep the TLD, as "Ebay" looks like a company name. "I bought XYZ on ebay" - this specifies the company.
  • usedcarparts.com - I'd keep the TLD here, since "I got XYZ from usedcarparts" will not specify your company, just the fact that I bought a used part, not a new one. "I got XYZ from usedcarparts.com specifies your site".
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In a case like yours where you are changing domains, it could be a useful reminder to users that your site can be accessed directly at (name).net.

The level of prominence you give it should reflect how integral it is to your identity. Do you want to be known as "(name).net" or as "(name)"?


An aside: I'll reiterate what others have said about the .com. Unless your company is in the field of internet or telecommunications, I would definitely go get and use .com. And even if you don't, I'd still procure the .com domain and have it redirect to your .net. From a UX perspective, you're protecting users who erroneously type in the wrong TLD or let it autocomplete to ".com" with a Ctrl+Enter.

It's not too expensive now, but it may well be the day another company comes along and scoops it up.

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  • Would your answer about the .com apply to sites outside the USA? The userbase is fairly international, spread around UK, Europe, USA, and farther afield. – AlexC Sep 26 '14 at 21:01
  • An interesting question. I find recommendations on .com over .net presumably by Americans, and studies about localized domains like .ca or .uk over .com, but nothing specific about .net and .com internationally. Sorry. – Tim FitzGerald Sep 27 '14 at 2:36
  • I think you mean .co.uk - .uk is extremely rare. – OJFord Sep 27 '14 at 22:59
  • The link I included was from Nominet, the authority of the .uk ccTLD. The salient quote: "4 in 5 people in the UK prefer websites ending in .uk when searching or buying online." – Tim FitzGerald Sep 27 '14 at 23:23
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I wouldn't include the TLD in the name. Rarely do successful names stick with TLDs included. Like someone said, it's tacky.

I don't think this is a certain UX topic, more matter of preference and a business decision. URLs and especially the TLD are becoming less important, so I wouldn't recommend building a name around them. Even "dot com" is going away as a trend.

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Will you ever consider changing the TLD, or going international, or supporting a second language? That would become a brand liability. Picture eBay's logo. When they opened a site in England, they needed it to be more local, so they became ebay.co.uk Their logo would not have survived had it incorporated the TLD.

What is your organization's name? If you are incorporated as WIDGETS.NET, LLC, then it would make the most sense to include it. If you're just WIDGETS, INC., then it's not part of your identity, and omitting it won't be as big of an issue. If you omit it, you may or may not need to include your site name separately, depending on how Google ranks your name in their search results.

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    I disagree on two points. Nothing stops you from adapting your logo when you localize to a new market—in fact, it serves as a waypoint to tell the user they are on the version of the site meant for her market. Have a look at amazon.co.uk's wordmark. Secondly, the legal name of your company is not necessarily your identity or brand. In some parts of the world it's common to just have a number for a legal name and use a service mark. – Tim FitzGerald Sep 26 '14 at 1:35
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I'd leave the TLD out. Unless your company's identity is primarily a web business it just seems techno-tacky.

By all means register the.com domain name.

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