I'm thinking of using a my-new-webapp.it instead of my-new-webapp.com (since it's already in use by someone else)
What's your thoughts about the .it top domain? Does it feels foreign compared to .com? The app will available in english.
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.it is the Italian TLD.
Generally speaking, it doesn't make any bid difference, unless you are trying to compete with an other website on the same topic. In this case, given you have the same popularity, search engines might want to give higher precedence to the domain corresponding to the language the user is searching for or the content is written. This is especially true for localized search engine versions, such as google.it or yahoo.it.
In other words, in your case it's not really a big deal. Normally, I suggest to use country TLDs to promote websites available in that specific language and to use general TLDs (.com, .net, ...) for international websites.
In your case, you might face an other issue. You must be aware that you need to be an European Union member in order to register a .it domain. I know that some international providers offer a proxy service as a workaround. Unless you have an Italian address, this is the only way for you to register a .it domain.
It does feel foreign both to users and to google. If your service requires trust from the users then you are at a disadvantage (although it's difficult to quantify). As a last resort, if .org and .net are taken, I've heard that the .co is becoming a valid substitute of .com. BTW if the taken domains are parked (or are just stubs with ads), then you may try contacting the owners and making an offer.
While I agree with @Simone that there is no fundamental problem with this, I see some arguments against using a TLD whose country you have nothing to do with:
Everyone who knows a bit about domains is going to expect italian-language content at an
.it domain. The only slight exception to the rule may be where the .it domain name is a play of words like
How Google (supposedly) works is always in flux, but I have heard at a number of occasions that country domains do play a role when weighting search results. If your target market is not Italy, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage using an
My advice would be to change the name of your webapp to an available .com and use that. I am always surprised by how many people seem happy to make do with a non .com domain because 'their' .com name is taken. Invent your own name and get all the top level domains for it. It may require some lateral thinking but at the end of it you will 'own' that name (in terms of domains anyway), it will not be confused with anyone else's, and you will not have any problems in that area in the future.
Does it feels foreign compared to .com? The app will available in english.
Yes, it is foreign (a ccTLD) and will be subject to Google's geotargeting. Which has nothing to do with the language the site might be written in - which you can control from within the webpage itself. A gTLD (such as .com) is not geotargetted, unless you specifically set this within Google's Webmaster Tools. However, the effect this has on the SERPs could be relatively minor and could depend on your content. You might just find that users searching from google.it will find it easier? But this won't necessarily make it any harder for anyone else to find it.
Personally, and has already been mentioned, I would tend not to register a ccTLD for a country I'm not interested in, unless it was perhaps a play on words as @Pekka suggests. However, this would perhaps be more of an issue of how people might perceive the name, rather than a technical one, and this could depend on your target market.
Just out if interest... I'm from the UK and through my usual (UK) domain registrar I am unable to register a domain with a .it ccTLD.
And see this other recent question:
Will search engines divert worldwide traffic away from a website with a country specific TLD?