The popularity of .IO domains for tech startups has surged in recent years. Why? In part, because it’s a great way to instantly establish your emerging brand as a tech company.
The .IO domain meaning has actually evolved over time. Tech enthusiasts adopted .IO as a nod to input/output, giving the ccTLD—which was originally assigned to represent the British Indian Ocean Territory—a personality all its own. And, much as .TV domains helped to quickly establish properties as television shows in the past, choosing a .IO domain helps instantly signify to anyone seeing your URL that you’re in tech. It’s a great branding play that costs very little but packs a big punch.
Here are five more reasons startups love .IO:
1. Greater availability of .IO domains
People have been registering .com domains for more than a quarter century. Of the more than 350 million active domains on the internet, about half of them are .COMs—meaning there’s a good chance you can’t get a concise domain for your startup. Or, you might have to pay a high price to secure ownership from an earlier registrant. Although .IO has been around for years as well, popularity has only surged recently.
2. .IO domain names have an ease of use
About half of all email use is on mobile devices. When someone is typing your email address for the first time on their phone, every character counts. An .IO domain often allows startups to get shorter, simpler domains and email addresses, lessening the chance of someone creating a typo. Name@company.io is a lot easier to get right than Name@companyplusanotherword.com!
3. .IO domain names have a community
Just as a .IO domain signifies a branding play, it also cements a startup among a community of other tech founders. It says, “I’m proud to be part of the tech startup world.” Many founders opt for a .IO simply for this reason. When companies search for their domain name and their .COM or first choice isn’t available, they are switching to .IO for this reason: .IO FOMO!
4. Creativity is unleashed with a .IO domain name
Many entrepreneurs whose companies have other TLD websites still register .IO domains to use as “hacks,” or creative ways to shorten their URLs. During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Marco Rubio used rub.io for this purpose. Lots of creative marketers have created URLs from words ending in .IO. (Looking for inspiration? Here’s a complete list of .IO words sure to excite any Scrabble player!)
5. Wide search engine recognition with your .IO domain name
Several ccTLDs (country code top-level domains, or domains originally designated by geography) are treated as territory-specific by Google and other search engines, hampering SEO efforts. However, Google treats .IO as a gTLD (generic top-level domain), meaning .IO websites get the same treatment as other widely used, global domains with the benefit of a more creative extension.
The bottom line, a strong .IO is a great bet for your tech startup. Don’t wait to register yours: thousands of founders secure .IO domain names every day, meaning your perfect domain could be gone tomorrow.