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I have a client considering using a .us domain name. Are there any particular reasons, other than familiarity, not to use a .us name? In this case, the site visitors will likely be mostly non-us based - is it possible that this could mitigate any familiarity issues (with more international users being used to seeing non-.com domains)? Are there any SEO reasons not to use a .us name?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by John Conde Aug 30 '13 at 22:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
thik of "del.icio.us" :) –  Ayyash Oct 7 '10 at 22:07
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@Ayyash, personally I always found it confusing (always forgot where the dots were!). If they thought the name was user friendly, they wouldn't have bothered to change it to delicious.com –  Mee Oct 8 '10 at 4:49
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It terms of public perception I think the domain is becoming less and less relevant. There are (at least) two factors at play here.

Firstly, I'm seeing more and more adverts for companies that simply say "search [terms]" when the company wants to direct you to a web site. This means that the user isn't typing the site name and so is less likely to notice what it actually is. Witness people trying to log into a blog about Facebook thinking it was facebook.

Secondly, when domains are mentioned they are often vanity URLs such as "five.tv" (a television channel here in the UK) rather than "channel5.co.uk".

Thirdly, there has been an expansion of TLDs recently.

As for the SEO side of things, I would have thought that it's the content and incoming links that are important rather than the domain - but I'm willing to be proved wrong on that.

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That's interesting. I hadn't noticed adverts saying "search [terms]" (is this TV or web). But one thing with that approach (and I think your Facebook example illustrates this) is that searching does not guarantee the user will find your site. If you have a very uncommon company name, then that might work (still no promises), but otherwise, even if you're #1 for that term on Google (which search engine does your customer use?), you could be bumped off later. –  Lèse majesté Oct 8 '10 at 4:27
    
But I agree that more and more TLDs will become accepted by the public, especially as good domains are quickly being taken up by legitimate sites AND squatters. However, I don't know what you mean by "vanity URLs". Aren't all domain names "vanity URLs"? –  Lèse majesté Oct 8 '10 at 4:29
    
@Lèse majesté - I've got the same issue with asking people to search - you're putting your faith in Google/Bing/etc. and the SEO skills of your website designers to get you the top search result - unless you've paid for a sponsored link of course! –  ChrisF Oct 8 '10 at 10:38
    
@Lèse majesté - with regard to vanity URLs I was thinking of "five.tv" rather than "channel5.co.uk" –  ChrisF Oct 8 '10 at 10:39
    
Yea, I realized what you were referring to a few minutes after I posting, but it was too late to edit. =P –  Lèse majesté Oct 8 '10 at 10:57
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See this Question & Answer for how the TLD affects SEO.

If the site's visitors are going to be international I don't see why your client would choose a .us domain name. Although the meaning of TLDs does seem to be less meaningful then in the past it still does have some meaning. It's likely that some users will see the .us TLD and be confused or concerned (depending on the content). Just doing it for SEO purposes would be neglecting the user which is always a bad idea.

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Interestingly, they actually think it could be beneficial from a user standpoint - the business provides US-based services to international companies, so the .us domain does convey some meaning/express some of what they do. It's not my first choice, but they do plan on securing the .com domain (either by purchasing or filing a claim based on a trademark), so long-term, I think they'll be ok. Thanks for the link! –  tnorthcutt Oct 7 '10 at 22:30
    
It should be noted that .us domains are exceptionally rare even in the U.S. And most people tend to just assume that if you're not using a .co.nz, co.uk, or co.jp, etc. that it's a U.S. site. It's also worth noting that the .co.us extension is reserved for U.S. counties, unlike the convention used for other national TLDs. –  Lèse majesté Oct 8 '10 at 4:35
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I own a environmental company and we just switched to .us as our domain my business has increased 3 fold since the new domain change.The .US domain is not as restrictive as expected. It is intended for all US related entities, including not only United States citizens, residents, or organizations, but also foreign entities presented in the United States. The domain became available in 2002 when all second-level domains were released for public registration, adding more options to the available top-level TLDs such as .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, etc. Before its official release, the .US domain was primarily used by governmental agencies. After the release was a fact, that tradition was preserved to some extent, so that many registrants in the USA preferred the .com, .net or .org extensions to .us. That trend has been interrupted in recent years when a growing number of US related individuals, organizations or businesses resort first to the .US extension for their preferred domain.

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The main issue I see with it is that .us is not immediately recognisable as a domain name. Regarding Ayyash's comment, del.icio.us in no way resembles any URL that most people are familiar with.

You'll find the same problem with .in if you're not Indian, .to if you're not Tongan, etc etc

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.au has the same problem if you aren't Australian. –  Michael Hampton Apr 4 '13 at 16:15
    
@MichaelHampton - there is only one domain name that I know of that just uses .au which is csiro.au; everything else uses .com.au, .net.au, .org.au etc which is much more recognisable than just example.us –  Mark Henderson Apr 4 '13 at 20:35
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