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Don’t Make the Same Mistake I Did: Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Website

(This post originally appeared on

So let’s state the obvious: the domain name of my company, which is, is pretty boring. Obviously, I’ve ignored some of the rules.

Clearly, I didn’t pay enough attention to the online experts at the time. My company’s domain name sometimes gets confused with the same name of a totally different company using a .com extension (and no, I’m not going to buy up their extension – who’s got that kind of money?). I have no key words in the name (other than my last name). It’s not regionally or product focused. I’m not setting myself apart. It’s not very cool or catchy. And it says nothing about my company, except for maybe that there are a group of people working here who may or may not have the last name of Marks. Not helpful.

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Why have a .us domain name?

(This post originally appeared on

Gene Marks is a small business owner and columnist for The New York Times, and

Why does Air France, a French-owned airline, have a “.us” domain extension? Why does CNBC, and even BBC use the same extension?

Shell OilHitachi, and, an advocacy website run by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, also use a .us domain extension.

These for-profit, not for profit and even media organizations all have their reasons for a .us domain name.

For example, these companies have an American angle, line, subsidiary, operation or other interest and so by typing in the website with a “.us” to follow they’ll find them quicker. And they will.

Others like to stake their claim on American online soil because they have U.S. operations. That’s why Shell is there. The oil company may be known for its worldwide operations, but it has a site devoted to just what it’s doing in the U.S. Discounts are offered and news is directly specifically at an American audience. That’s because even though we live in a global world, we still want our information delivered locally. So large companies need to focus their information on regions or even specific countries, which is why having a .us extension is and will grow importance over time for them. And maybe for you as well.

Maybe, though, your business or organization is uniquely, unabashedly and patriotically American. You have a political-oriented website. You run a U.S.-based charity. You have a specific line of business or operations that are unique to an American audience. Or you deliver American products and you’re darn proud of it. You’re all about America and you want the world to know that. What better way to tell the world than to have an American-focused extension on your website?

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