The last part of a website's name (e.g. the ".com", ".edu", or ".uk") is called the Top-level Domain. Each country gets their own (e.g. ".au", ".uk", ".us"). There also used to be seven other "generic" possibilities:

  1. .com (commercial)
  2. .org (organization)
  3. .net (network)
  4. .int (international organizations)
  5. .edu (U.S. education institutions)
  6. .gov (U.S. government)
  7. .mil (U.S. military)

That list has been growing in recent years. It's up to 810 at last count1. This makes it harder for cybersquatters2 to snatch up all the good ones. There are simply too many possibilities to make it cost effective. For example, here's the current list of available my name dot whatever:

Site Domain Name Price
alan.accountants $73.98
alan.adult $80.00
alan.aero $79.81
alan.alsace $39.86
alan.apartments $47.81
alan.associates $24.60
alan.auction $24.60
alan.bar $55.50
alan.bargains $24.60
alan.beer $24.37
alan.bid $19.24
alan.bingo $41.81
alan.bio $47.26
alan.black $34.85
alan.boutique $24.60
alan.brussels $31.81
alan.build $55.50
alan.builders $24.60
alan.cab $24.60
alan.camp $24.60
alan.capetown $23.09
alan.cards $24.60
alan.care $24.60
alan.careers $37.99
alan.casino $136.81
alan.chat $27.81
alan.cheap $24.60
alan.church $24.60
alan.city $17.39
alan.claims $37.99
alan.clinic $37.99
alan.coach $37.99
alan.cologne $11.54
alan.community $24.60
alan.condos $37.99
alan.contractors $24.60
alan.cool $24.60
alan.coop $119.81
alan.credit $73.98
alan.creditcard $109.97
alan.cricket $55.50
alan.cruises $37.99
alan.cymru $16.72
alan.dating $37.99
alan.deals $24.60
alan.delivery $37.99
alan.dental $37.99
alan.desi $16.36
alan.diamonds $37.99
alan.direct $24.60
alan.directory $17.39
alan.discount $24.60
alan.domains $24.60
alan.durban $23.09
alan.energy $73.98
alan.enterprises $24.60
alan.equipment $17.39
alan.estate $24.60
alan.exchange $24.60
alan.expert $37.99
alan.fail $24.60
alan.farm $24.60
alan.financial $37.99
alan.fish $24.60
alan.fitness $24.60
alan.flights $37.99
alan.football $16.81
alan.forsale $24.60
alan.foundation $24.60
alan.frl $33.68
alan.fund $37.99
alan.furniture $37.99
alan.gifts $24.60
alan.glass $24.60
alan.golf $54.81
alan.gratis $17.39
alan.green $55.50
alan.guide $24.60
alan.guitars $24.60
alan.hamburg $38.83
alan.haus $24.60
alan.healthcare $37.99
alan.holdings $37.99
alan.holiday $37.99
alan.host $70.95
alan.immo $24.60
alan.immobilien $24.60
alan.industries $24.60
alan.institute $17.39
alan.insure $37.99
alan.investments $71.98
alan.jetzt $17.39
alan.joburg $23.09
alan.juegos $13.61
alan.kaufen $24.60
alan.koeln $11.54
alan.land $24.60
alan.lease $37.99
alan.legal $37.99
alan.lgbt $34.85
alan.life $24.60
alan.lighting $17.39
alan.limited $24.60
alan.limo $37.99
alan.loans $73.98
alan.ltda $32.84
alan.luxury $480.00
alan.market $14.60
alan.marketing $24.60
alan.media $24.60
alan.memorial $37.99
alan.menu $29.75
alan.moda $19.45
alan.money $24.60
alan.nagoya $13.01
alan.ngo $64.81
alan.one $11.81
alan.partners $37.99
alan.party $24.39
alan.physio $65.80
alan.pink $14.25
alan.pizza $37.99
alan.place $24.60
alan.plumbing $24.60
alan.plus $32.81
alan.poker $34.85
alan.porn $80.00
alan.pro $14.30
alan.properties $24.60
alan.quebec $27.61
alan.recipes $37.99
alan.red $14.25
alan.reisen $17.39
alan.rentals $24.60
alan.rest $29.75
alan.restaurant $37.99
alan.reviews $19.45
alan.ruhr $33.89
alan.sale $24.60
alan.sarl $24.60
alan.school $26.81
alan.singles $24.60
alan.solar $24.60
alan.supplies $17.39
alan.supply $17.39
alan.surgery $37.99
alan.tattoo $24.60
alan.tax $37.99
alan.technology $17.39
alan.tennis $41.81
alan.tienda $37.99
alan.tires $73.98
alan.tokyo $13.01
alan.tools $24.60
alan.tours $54.81
alan.town $24.60
alan.trade $24.60
alan.training $24.60
alan.travel $110.00
alan.university $37.99
alan.vacations $24.60
alan.ventures $37.99
alan.viajes $37.99
alan.vlaanderen $31.81
alan.vote $55.50
alan.voto $55.50
alan.voyage $37.99
alan.wedding $24.60
alan.wien $31.11
alan.xxx $80.00
alan.yoga $24.60
alan.yokohama $13.01
alan.zone $24.60

Those prices are per year. For comparison, I pay $14 per for this site (alanwsmith.com).

Historically, having ".com" at the end of a website was important for marketing. My guess it will continue to be for sometime but that'll diminish to being a wash over time.


(Note: The number of top-level domains for the F-word is surprisingly high. They include: .associates, .church, .education, .expert, .golf, .guru, .management, .partners, .photography, .systems, .university.)


Footnotes

  1. The current list of Top-level domains.

  2. From the Wikipedia: Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.