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Startup Domain Trends at CES

Among startups, what are some of the new trends in domains?

Attending conferences and trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a great way to spot new domain trends. CES is a Las Vegas conference that attracts over 150,000 people every year, and startups fight for attention among the 3,500 companies that show off their latest and greatest products.

Below, let’s take a look at the domain trends we discovered at this year’s CES.

Country Code TLDs

Although .com domains still dominated the 2017 show, things are starting to change. A lot of startup companies displayed edgier web addresses, especially utilizing country code top level domain names.

A company at CES 2017 using a .US domain name
A company at CES 2017 using a .US domain name

Here are some of the top TLD choices spotted during the event:

  • .IO – This domain name, originally created for British Indian Ocean Territory, is one of the hottest domains out there right now. It caught on because I/O is a popular computing term standing for input/output. Now the domain has taken on a life of its own.
  • .CO – A favorite for technology companies is the .co domain. It’s just one letter off from .com but there are a lot more options still available in this TLD than for .com. The domain stands for Colombia, but few in the startup world think of the country when they see .co. Instead, they think “tech startup”.
  • .US – Yes, .us technically stands for United States, but as a TLD many prize it for its play on words, standing for ‘us’. As a result, many companies use it in the context of “do something with us”.  Unlike the other domains listed here, the .us TLD can only be registered by people and companies with a presence in the United States.
  • .AI – There’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, so many AI-focused companies are registering this shorthand domain. It hasn’t fully caught on yet, so look for it to appear more often in the future.

Other Domain Trends at CES

Two-letter country code domains weren’t the only web addresses popular with companies at CES. A handful were using the new TLDs that started coming out in 2014. I saw one company using a .solutions domain. Other new TLDs that will work well for startups include .software, .world and .digital.

Even the organizers of CES got on the new top level domain bandwagon this year: they moved from a .org domain name to CES.tech.

Want to Join in the Fun?

Have you spotted new trends in domains? Do you have an idea for where the startup world is heading, and what kinds of names (or TLDs) might be the next hot area for domain registrations? Or maybe it’s just time to snap up the domain for your new business.

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Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.

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