What's New with the Not-Com Movement

By Special Guest
Jeff Davidoff, CMO at Donuts Inc.
  |  January 14, 2016

It’s good to know that the parables of our youth still apply in today’s digital age. To find the proof, look to the fast growing domain name industry, where the new and innovative “not-com” domain names are rapidly gaining on dot-com names.

Look at the recent news headlines: In June, The Hunger Games movie franchise ditched its .com in favor of the website name Then, Google (News - Alert) followed suit by launching its new holding company, Alphabet, on the website

Most recently making domain industry news, Verisign, the domain registry company that owns .com recently filed a lawsuit against XYZ, a not-com registry operator offering domains using .xyz, for allegedly disparaging the value of .com in its marketing and promotional materials. XYZ ultimately won the case on summary judgment, meaning the court found that Verisign’s arguments fell short of what it needed to be for a case to go forward. But it shows us that the not-com movement continues to take hold.

For those new to the idea of not-com domain names, small businesses, brands, and individuals can now choose from an abundance of website address endings for the first time in 30 years of the Internet. Big brands, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and dreamers wanting to set their brand apart from the traditional ho-hum dot-com endings  are creating great new naming opportunities for themselves with domain names like .agency, .coffee, .email, .expert, and many more. Artof.Fitness, Driftaway.Coffee, and Soul.Camp are three great examples.

Over the past three decades, dot-com names have been heavily picked over, resulting in an uneasy feeling of scarcity of meaningful domain names. Prior to the release of the not-com domain names in 2014, businesses were forced to shape their online identities around an artificially constrained choice, often settling for long and clunky dot-com addresses.

The not-com movement represents a major turning point in the history of the Internet, especially if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur. Opportunities abound in this brave new Internet. As the general public continues to learn about these new possibilities, savvy entrepreneurs are getting a head start, buying these valuable URLs for their business and personal needs. Big brands are doing it too. Apple (News - Alert), Google, Amazon, Sony, Barclays, General Motors, Lionsgate, Marriott, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell have all joined in to use the new not-com domains this past year.  

With more than 400 of these new not-com domain extensions currently available, and hundreds more on the way, business and brand owners no longer need to struggle to find a great domain name that matches their great business ideas. The days of frustrating domain name hunting are over because not-com names are so new, and the best names are still available.

As of November 2015, more than 10 million new not-com domain names have been registered. In November alone, there were more than 1.5 million not-com registrations. And pop culture standards are helping to lead the not-com revolution, including Lady Gaga’s,, and even (the comedian’s line of Christmas sweaters).

The four most important benefits of not-com domain names are as follows.

• They are meaningful. Not-com domain names allow businesses and individuals to brand themselves before and after the dot.

They are memorable. More than 50 percent of consumers think new domain names in meaningful combinations will be easier to remember, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Donuts Inc.

They are available. Many of us have had the disheartening experience of searching for a dot-com domain name, only to find it unavailable. With not-com, the probability of getting your top choice domain name is higher than ever.

• They are searchable. Because Google’s search algorithm doesn’t distinguish words to the left or right of the dot in a URL, the more descriptive keywords you can fit into your not-com URL, the better. We believe not-com names perform just as well, if not better, than their dot-com counterparts.

The second year of not-com availability has been marked by promising growth in consumer awareness and adoption. As the new domain registrations surge past 10 million, a look at the growth rates reveals a remarkable trend. Since January 2015, total new domain registrations have grown by 263 percent and the average monthly registration rate has more than tripled. Wall Street analysts forecast that not-com registrations could top 20 million by 2016.   

Jeff Davidoff is CMO at Donuts Inc. (

Edited by Maurice Nagle