Alternative Domain Names, as Controversial as Abortions?

alternative domain namesby Adam Yamada-Hanff

Are alternative domain names as controversial as abortions?  What about politics and hot button issues like education, guns, and healthcare?  This might sound like a joke but I'm actually being serious.

Recently I posted about my negative experience mentioning IO domains to someone at a conference I had lunch with.  I detailed how this domain extension, for the Indian Ocean, lost me a valuable consulting gig or a possible job offer by from the executive I talked with.  I felt the IO domain extension, which in mind I would consider an alternative domain extension, really hurt my chances.  I encourage you to read the post to see why.

I didn't really put down the IO domain extension but made it clear that for regular people alternative domain names are not ready for primetime.  At least for a non-tech inclined audience.

What shocked me was that I got lots of nasty comments on this article the day it was posted.  Usually when I write an article, even if it is meant to generate interest, it usually takes awhile for people to start leaving comments.  Even with some of my really popular and fun articles like Top Gear USA vs Top Gear UK and Top Gear USA getting cancelled it can take awhile before people start leaving their opinions and weighing in.  This includes when I wrote about mentioning a CO domain I bought to a family member and which they didn't understand.

My article about my experience just mentioning IO domains people jumped in immediately.  (I try to maintain a clean and family friendly websites for the most part so none of these nefarious comments were approved.) Many commenters made remarks about my intelligence and how I'm not a good web consultant.  How could I write such insults about the greatest domain extensions of all time?  Don't I understand it's for Input/Output?  What's worse is the person who didn't get what these domains I was talking about must have been “stupid” or “an idiot.”  I'm fine if people don't like my services or advice but I really disagree that this person was stupid.  The fact is these alternate domain names are just was not in her lexicon and probably won't be for awhile.

What's interesting to me is how much people take offense when you say anything bad about the domain name, and more specifically the domain extension, they have chosen.  Clearly a lot of people like, use, and have bought alternative domain names for their business, service, or website.  They really do not like it when you criticize it and feel there is something wrong with other people.

I get why these people are upset.  When someone chooses to build a website on a domain name, they probably took time and care to think about it.  In a sense that is their “baby.”  If you make any bad remarks about where you are “raising” their kid or infer the “baby” is ugly I believe they see it as a direct insult.  Not just on their brand but their abilities and the entire operation they've been working on.

I own some domains that are considered alternative, like a ME domain.  I should divulge I did not buy it for building out though but will likely be used as a URL shortener on Twitter and other social networks.  Also I've written about services like Short Domain Search which cater to those looking for alternative domain names that are short and supposedly easy to remember.

Even if I've written about some of these domain topics, negatively or positively, it still does not give people the right to attack me, clients, and potential clients for voicing their opinions.   Most of their rationale behind the choosing these domains can be pretty flawed to a certain extent.

If you are having trouble finding a good domain, why not try a domain name generator?  I've highly recommended Lean Domain Search on this fine web establishment and continue to do so.  In my opinion it is the standard by which all other domain generators are measured.  If Lean Domain Search does not work for you might want to check out NameMesh and Impossibility.  Those are definitely great domain name generators too.  If you find a domain name you like I encourage you to use NameSilo or NameCheap to register your domains.

What do you think about alternative domain names like IO, CO, ME, and others?  Do you agree that your websites are “babies and kids?”  Do you think insulting a person or company's domain name is as controversial as talking about birth control and abortions?  Let me know with a comment below.

I bought .ME domain name, for Me

me domain nameAbout a week ago I bought a .ME domain name which just happens to be my first purchase in the .ME domain extension.   While the domain was not my first choice for what I wanted I bought this particular .ME domain name for same reason most people buy a domain name nowadays, it was available. 🙂

Even though a lot of web entrepreneurs are familiar with the .ME domain name I know a lot of people that read and follow my website might not be.  I did write about the .ME registry accepting application for premium domains awhile ago.

Since this is my first .ME domain name I thought this would be a good time to do a quick write-up and explanation of the .ME domain extension.

What is a .ME Domain Name?

The .ME domain extension is what is known as a country code top level domain (ccTLD) for the the European country of Montenegro.  Many ccTLDs that used to be restricted for use within only a certain country, like .ME for Montenegro, have been opened up for registration to general public.  That means you or I can register the domain name.

In terms of search engine optimization (SEO) there is no disadvantage to using some ccTLDs nowadays.  Google considers many ccTLDs like .ME good for global and generic use.  In addition to other domain extensions like .IO, which Google changed their mind about.

Where is Montenegro? What goes on There?

Like I said, Eastern Europe.  Look at a map.

The most famous local that has “taken place” in Montenegro is James Bond playing Texas Hold'em Poker against Le Chifre in the movie Casino Royale.  (In the original story Bond plays Baccarat.)  Of course no part of the movie was actually filmed in Montenegro to my understanding.

As to what else goes on in Montenegro I unfortunately do no know.  Hopefully there is a lot of high stakes gambling and beautiful women.  Maybe I should go find out!

What are you going to do with a .ME Domain Name

It is not a domain name I plan to build a website on and I honestly do not think it has any resale value.  You are welcome to offer me a million dollars for it.  I will gladly accept.

If you don't offer me any money for it my plan is to use this domain as a URL shortener most likely for this website in addition to my other web properties.  While there are tons of URL shortening services there are many advantages to using your own domain name to shorten your URLs.  A lot of free URL shortener services allow anyone to pull statistics on your click through rates for those shortened URLs.  Not good if you don't want your competition to know this information.  It also enables you to brand all your URLs even if they are shortened.  In addition it gives you greater control if you take down an article and you can have shortened URLs be even shorter since you are the only person using the domain.  Also, it's just plain fun and cool.

Can you Enable Privacy on a .ME Domain Name?

Yes. I have whois privacy enabled on this .ME domain I bought through NameCheap.  What is interesting is most ccTLDs domain extensions do not allow for domain privacy but it seems with .ME they do.

How much does it cost to register a .ME domain name?

It's not crazy expensive but you are paying more each year since there are not as many registrations of the domain as more popular extensions.  Average pricing runs about $15-$17 dollars but this will vary depending the domain registrar you use.

Since there is a higher yearly cost for renewal I wouldn't register a .ME domain name and not do anything with it.  You should have a plan to use it either as URL shortener, like I will, or develop into something awesome.

Do you like .ME?

I hope you do and you like my blog.

Anyway, this is what I now about .ME domain names and the extension.  If you have anything to add or opinions about .ME, (get it?) feel free to leave a comment below.

My Question on the DomainSherpa After Show

I submitted a question for the DomainSherpa show last week.  To my surprise the host, Michael Cyger, accepted the question and it was asked on the DomainSherpa After Show this week.

For those are not aware or have not heard about DomainSherpa it is a great resource for domain names and those looking to learn about buying, selling, and acquiring them.  Michael Cyger, the publisher and host, has interviews with top domain name investors, people within the domain industry, and web entrepreneurs.  People that he refers to as “Domain Sherpas” because of their knowledge and skill with domain names and the internet in general.

Recently they just started doing portfolio reviews with several Domain Sherpas.  They analyze portfolios and decide whether a domain is great, good, or needs to be dropped.  It's quite interesting to listen to the shows and hear what these pros have to say about certain domains.  In the After Show they discuss domain industry news and take questions from the audience.

In last week's DomainSherpa After Show they had discussed the fact that PC.org was up for auction and what value it had.  Since PC obviously stands for “Personal Computer” it can be used for many different things but the fact it is an ORG domain, what does that help or hurt it for a potential buyer?

This was the question I asked;

What are the Sherpas opinions on 2 letter and 3 letter .NET and .ORG domains?”

domainsherpa after show

What the Domain Sherpas said

There was talk about the 2 letter .NET domains sell in the past week.  According to DNJournal for the week of October 7th – 13 for domain sales there were the two .NET sales he was referring to I believe;

  • FN.net – $15,050
  • OC.net – $14,500

With regards to 2 letter .ORG he thought they could go for in the same ballpark.  They also mentioned for 3 letter domains he thought they could sell for a couple hundred unless they have a particular meaning.

It was mentioned that Public Interest Registry (PIR), the domain registry for .ORG, recently tried to auction off 1 letter ORG domains with extremely high reserve prices.  However all those domains failed to find buyers.

“The gap, to be honest with you, doesn't seem like it's shirking it actually seems like it is getting further away.” said Rich Schwartz regarding the price disparity between the .COM domains when compared to .NET and .ORG domains that are the same.

Michael Cyger was pretty perceptive since he asked the Domain Sherpas whether the values of .NET and .ORG 2 and 3 letter domains will go up or down with the new generic top level domains (gTLDS) that will be rolling out soon.  This is kind of why I asked the question.

After Cyger threw this additional question out there for the Sherpas, Rich Schwartz did say, “I think they will go up.”  Additional Schwartz said the thought that .NET could become the “Black Horse” in the domain and internet world as he referred to it as an “Orphaned extension.”  Of course when you have all these new gTLDs joining the party, that .NET doesn't look so bad.

“I'd love to see the values fall to where we could buy some.” commented Page Howe.  He also thinks there are a lot of functional benefits to owning and using 2 letter domains, which I agree with.  In addition he mentioned, “You are borrowing some prestige from every other person that's had one.” about .NET and .ORG domains.

“There are only 676 combinations of .NET and .ORGs… but then you add all the new gTLDs and you've got 676 of those.” said Adam Dicker.  “Personally I think they are going to go down.  I'd much rather have a 2 letter from one of the other gTLDs than .NET or .ORG, that's just me.”

UPDATE – I don't agree with Adam Dicker and apparently he is a criminal.

My Thoughts

Mulling over what the Sherpas said and from what I've seen over the past few months it seems like NET and ORG prices have fallen. I've seen many quality domains fail to find the right buyers.  Whether this is due to startups using .IO domains or people waiting for the new gTLDs, I'm not sure.  Since Google said .IO domains are good for global use startups seem be to flocking to them even faster now.  Personally I don't get it but if you want to find a good .IO domain I would checkout Short Domain Search.

With regards to .NET being an “Orphaned extension” I don't agree with Rick Schwartz.  I use NET for Singing Dogs and feel comfortable using the domain for email.  Like Page Howe said you borrow prestige from the millions of people and companies already using the NET extension.  I kind of see what Schwartz is saying though.  If you choose to use .ORG that usually has meaning that your organization is non-profit and gives them a certain identity.

If I can pickup any 3-letter NET or ORG domains cheaply I probably will.  Honestly though I see a lot of people bid like crazy on these.  What a lot of them don't realize is that they are bidding up to end user prices and wont' get back their money.  I guess I will just have to be patient and smart! 🙂

If any of the Sherpas read this I appreciate the time they took to answer my question.  I also appreciate that Michael Cyger accepted my question for the DomainSherpa After Show.

If you want to watch or listen to the Domain Sherpa show here is the link to show with my question.

Domain Sherpa Portfolio Review – October 17th, 2013

The question gets asked around the 54 minute and 13 second mark in the DomainSherpa After Show if you want to skip ahead to it and listen to what the Sherpas said yourself.  If you have any comments or opinions about my question I'd be glad to hear it.

NameSilo Review: Clear Pricing, Simple Interface, and Easy Domain Management

I've been using a new domain name registrar, NameSilo, for awhile now so I thought I would write up a NameSilo Review if anyone is considering buying or transferring domains to them.  This NameSilo Review is going to be as complete and detailed as possibly and you won't find any better review than what you are about to read, I guarantee it! 🙂

Just as a disclaimer I have included affiliate links in this review.  This means I get a commission if you click through to one of these links and buy or transfer a domain with NameSilo.  However nobody can “buy” my opinion on this blog and this review reflects my honest opinions about NameSilo and their service as a domain name registrar.  

NameSilo Review

namesilo

NameSilo is a relatively new domain name registrar that has been in business since 2009.  This small, but fast growing registrar, has gained a lot of new customers mainly by word-of-mouth via online forums and by not using pleasant tactics other domain registrars use.  What does that mean?  Hard upsells, a confusing checkout process, different prices on domain registration and renewals, selling web hosting, charging for Whois privacy, etc.  NameSilo's mission is to make domain registration and management as easy as possible and they do good job.

NameSilo User Interface

NameSilo has one of the easiest domain management and user interfaces of any domain registrar I have used or seen.  Changing nameservers, renewing and paying for names, transferring domains to NameSIlo, transferring out, turning privacy on or off, etc. is all easy and painless thanks to the intuitive user interface.  Buttons are big, clearly marked, and easy-to-understand.  Check out my awesome screenshot!

namesiloLike any UI it will take some getting used to but I think most people should be able to navigate NameSilo's Domain Manager dashboard quickly.

I see a lot of people say NameSilo has the best user interface of any domain registrar out there, but I'm unsure.  I definitely prefer it over NameCheap‘s UI which I always have found confusing and I think the text is too small.  (GoDaddy… don't even ask as most people will tell you they hate it, including me.)

Overall it's hard to beat NameSilo's easy-to-use UI and the way they clearly present everything in their backend.

namesilo review

Domain Search and Registering

domain searchSearching and registering domain names with NameSilo is a straightforward and easy process.  Like I said above, the user interface is simple and easy-to-understand.  NameSilo makes purchasing domain names as hassle free as can be.

namesilo shopping cart I do have some complaints about searching and registering domains with NameSilo though.  When searching for domains it automatically selects .CO as well as .COM for some reason.  I understand they want to make more money on .CO registrations (since they charge $22.49 for per year) but who really needs a .CO if you can get the .COM?  Honestly I would prefer a .NET or .ORG but that is my personal preference and opinion.  I know the tech community and startups love .CO domains and .IO domains these days, but really?  (NameSilo doesn't support .IO in case you were wondering.  Probably a good thing as .IO domains lost me money.)

In addition NameSilo's shopping cart defaults to a 2-year registration period for domains instead of 1 year.  This is something that you usually see from other registrars and I honestly don't like it.

UPDATE: NameSilo seems to have changed the registration process for domains.  It no longer automatically selects .CO domains and the default is to only have the .COM selected.  I imagine other NameSilo customers had similar complaints, and they might have read this review, which is why they changed the domain search defaults.

bulk domain searchNameSilo's bulk domain search is straightforward as well.  One nice thing is that you can upload a TXT file of domains names that you want to search availability on.  Useful if you are looking for a large list of domains.  You can search up to 500 domain names at a time using NameSilo's bulk search.  The domain bulk search works fine but it can be a bit cubersome and clunky to use.  It benefit from having a separate landing page and larger menu and input field to work with.

NameSilo also offers the ability to buy premium domain names (domains owned by someone else) through them if you wish.  I doubt many people are interested in that though since most probably flock to NameSilo due to their low pricing.

NameSilo Domain Transfers

Domain transfers in and out of NameSilo are pretty straightforward and easy.  I've only had trouble transferring domains in from 1and1 (which is a domain registrar you shouldn't use.)  Just make sure you have the correct EPP or authorization code and have unlocked the domain name from the losing registrar if you are going to be transferring to NameSilo.

A great feature that NameSilo offers for transferring domain name to an outgoing registrar is that you can approve a transfer in their backend without waiting.  Typically it can take 5-10 days for a domain transfer to go through.  This means with NameSilo you just need to retrieve the authorization code via email and once that is approved by NameSilo, you can go to the “Transfer Manager” in your account and approve the transfer immediately.  The only other domain name registrar I have seen offer outbound domain transfer approvals in their backend is GoDaddy.

NameSilo DNS Propagation & Management

NameSilo's DNS propagation is pretty snappy.  The usual amount of time I've waited for nameservers to update and see it on my end is 10-20 minutes.  NameSilo says nameserver updates on their end are updated immediately, of course that doesn't matter unless the update gets to you quickly.  Keep in mind DNS updates around the world can take up to 48 hours to propagate.  Today I had to wait a few hours for a domains nameservers to change.

In addition managing DNS with NameSilo is quite easy and they don't cut corners when it comes to DNS management.  This registrar offers a full range of DNS services which allows you to change CNAME, MX, and A records.

manage dnsAlso NameSilo makes it easy to apply templates with domains for using different services such as Blogger, Google Apps, Squarespace, Weebly, Yola, Zenfolio, Tumblr, and SmugMug.  This is a nice feature if you are someone who is buying a domain name to use with an 3rd party web hosting service.  (Of course I don't recommend doing this and tell people it's better to buy web hosting with a company like Site5.)  If you are not comfortable with making DNS changes to your domain, this should help you set it up somewhat easily.

dns templates

NameSilo Pricing

NameSilo's claims to have “The Cheapest Domains on the Internet” as well as the “Cheapest Everyday Prices on the Web.”  While this sounds like a lofty claim and marketing ploy, as far as I can tell this seems to be accurate.  If you exclude coupons that other larger domain registrars offer, like NameCheap or GoDaddy, the everyday pricing is extremely competitive and the price you see is the price you pay.

NameSilo does not charge the $18 cent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) fee on domains and they do not charge for Whois privacy. That is included in the price when purchase domains.  NameCheap, Godaddy and a lot of other registrars tack on these fees when you are checking out.

Here are all the domains that NameSilo currently supports and their pricing.  Prices are for registration and renewal.

  • COM – $8.99
  • NET – $8.09
  • ORG – $9.19
  • INFO – $9.59
  • BIZ – $9.99
  • CO – $22.49
  • MOBI – $7.89
  • ME – $16.99

These prices are for regular NameSilo pricing if you are ordering under 49 domain names.  (Sounds like a lot but some people own thousands of domains.)  They have bulk discounts as well as the NameSilo Discount Program.  This allows you to save 10 cents off per domain name if your prefund your NameSilo account and pay that way.  I am not sure what the advantage is for NameSilo but I assume they make money on holding money, like a bank.  If you don't want to prefund your NameSilo account you can pay with a credit card with Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and Discover.  Online payment solutions include PayPal, Skrill (formerly MoneyBookers), and Payza if you prefer.

UPDATE: NameSilo now accepts Google Wallet, Bitcoin, and Dwolla for payment.

Transfer pricing is reasonable too;

  • COM – $8.39
  • NET – $7.89
  • ORG – $8.99
  • INFO – $9.19
  • BIZ – $9.79
  • CO – $22.49
  • MOBI – $13.99
  • ME – $15.99

If you want to save $1 off on registration or transfers use the coupon codes – NAMESILO27 or SAVEDOLLAR1.  (FYI these are my codes.)

Only comparable pricing that matches NameSilo from what I've seen is Internet.bs (no, not that BS but .BS is the country code top level domain name for the Bahamas.) which has free Whois privacy and doesn't charge an ICANN fee as well.  There is also Resell.biz but you would need to setup to be a domain reseller with them.  Still with Resell.biz's pricing structure you would only need to spend $500 over the lifetime of your account to get their bulk pricing which is extremely competitive.  A lot of people use them since it's easy to spend over $500 on renewing domains.  In addition DynaDot's bulk pricing is on par with NameSilo's bulk pricing, but DynaDot at the time of this writing does not offer free Whois privacy.  I heard DynaDot was considering changing this though.

No matter how you cut it NameSilo pricing is hard to beat and they seem to be picking up a lot of business because of it.

*All pricing was accurate at the time this post was written.  

NameSilo Support

NameSilo support is decent and fast to respond mostly any time during the day.  Response time on weekends is even pretty good.  NameSilo support is usually pretty helpful about answering questions but sometimes I have found that support is a bit snobbish since often they just link to their knowledgeable base without a clear explanation.

NameSilo offers email and chat support, but there is no phone support.  With domain names I don't anticipate that you will need tons of support or have a lots of questions, unlike web hosting, but you never know.

Final Thoughts about NameSilo

In addition to what I've already mentioned I have had a few issues with NameSilo.  They advertise “Free Domain Parking” which you use with Google Adsense.  I am unsure if it is allowed to use a Google Adsense account on parked domains though.  Google shutdown their domain parking program a few years, even though the company makes money with agreements with domain parking companies.

If you are going to use their domain parking option with Google Adsense it might be a good idea to setup an LLC.

Another thing which bothered me was I recommended a family member move some domains from another registrar to NameSilo. He used my affiliate link to make the transfer but I didn't use my coupon code, but a bulk transfer code they were offering at the time.  I noticed I didn't get an affiliate commission, which made me feel jibbed.  I asked about it and they said it was because it was a bulk transfer and he didn't use one my my coupon codes.  I won't cry about it but it was annoying.

For those of you interested in an easy-to-use straightforward domain pricing and free Whois privacy, NameSilo is definitely a good option.  They have a lot of great features and don't cut corners even with their low pricing.

I am personally hesitant to keep my important and key domains with them as they are a new domain registrar though.   I will use them for keeping domains I have development plans for, but don't want to spend too much money renewing ever year.  That's why NameSilo is a good name I guess.

NameSilo also doesn't fill all my domain needs as I own a handful of .US domains.  At this time NameSilo does not support ccTLDs (country code top level domains) except for .ME and .CO currently.  I imagine this isn't a big deal for most people though.

It's kind of hard for me to believe that NameSilo can continue with their pricing strategy without moving into other markets or jacking up prices.  A lot of domain registrars slowly have price increases and start charging for Whois privacy and taking on ICANN fees as they grow larger.

NameSilo did introduce domain auctions for expiring domains a few months ago.  According to RegistrarOwl, which is run by NameSilo, they have about 108,000 domains under management.  That means that on any given day there are not going to be too many deleting domain gems dropping under their control.  As they grow, this will likely change and I assume bring in more revenue for NameSilo.

Some might not remember this but GoDaddy got big by undercutting the competition in price back when they were first getting started.  Now their coupon pricing might be good, but their service isn't all that great.  Since NameSilo is using the same strategy, despite my reservations, I really have no doubt in my mind that in a few years NameSilo could become a major player in the domain industry.  That is if… they are not bought out and stick to their original business goals.

It is quite possible that NameSilo could get gobbled up by a big domain registrar in the domain industry since I am pretty sure execs at GoDaddy, Demand Media, Name Media, etc. will see this little domain registrar slowly increasing their market share as threat.  They could very well buy them out at some point.

My hope though is that NameSilo sticks to their original mission of providing no-headaches and ho-hassles when it comes to domain registration and management.  No web hosting, SEO products, etc. which I won't buy from a domain registrar anyway.

Bottom line is that NameSilo is good if you have 1 or 1000's of domain names.

If you use NameSilo and think I've missed something in this NameSilo Review please leave a comment below.  If you have any questions about NameSilo let me know below and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Just as a reminder you can save $1 off on registration or transfers with these NameSilo coupon codes – NAMESILO27 or SAVEDOLLAR1.  These NameSilo coupon codes will work for most domain registrations and domain transfers with NameSilo.  Each code can be redeemed once per person per account.

Again I've included affiliate links in this review but that does not change my opinion.  If you received value and insight from this NameSilo review I appreciate any help so that I can continue to write informative and honest reviews on this blog. 

Google revists Country Code Top Level Domain usage

Matt Cutts via the Google Webmaster Help channel released another video discussing country code top level domain (ccTLD) usage  a few days ago.  The title of the video was “Should I use ccTLDs for sites not targeted to those countries?” and this was the question that was asked.

As memorable .COM domains become more expensive, more developers are choosing alternate new domains like .IO and .IM – which Google geotargets to small areas. Do you discourage this activity?
Andy, NY

Matt Cutts says in the beginning of the video, “I want you to go in with eyes open.” which basically means you should be careful buying a random ccTLDs to use for your website if your intention is global use.  Later he said, “Most domains do pertain to that specific country.” when he was talking about certain ccTLDs.

Specifically he mentioned the extension .LI, which is the country code top level domain for Lichtenstein.  Some people in Long Island, New York have started to use the .LI extension for “Long Island.”  Cutts confirmed in this video thought that Google doesn't view .LI for use on Long Island or global use and still considers it a ccTLD for the country of Lichtenstein.

Back in February, 2013 there was a Google Webmaster Help video discussing ccTLD hacks.  In the video Cutts specifically mentioned the domain extension .IO, for the Indian Ocean, which was still considered targeted for that area of use in February.  What is interesting is that in this video he said that Google had looked at who was using .IO extension and it mostly wasn't people from the Indian Ocean.  For a $99 renewal fee I doubt many people in the Indian Ocean will spring to use .IO anyway.  This should make any startups or websites that are using the .IO happy since this is the first official confirmation of this from Google.

country code top level domain

Here is a list of ccTLDs that Google has confirmed are for global use.  If you are interested you can find a lot of short domains for these various extensions using Short Domain Search, which I wrote about.

What Google should do is allow people who buy a country code top level domain that isn't on that list to be able to go into Google Webmaster Tools and geoselect if it is for the country or global use.  So many new companies and start-ups seem to be using ccTLD domain extensions due to the lack of good available .COM, .NET, and even .ORG domains these days

Since this issue is not going away and I suspect that more and more people will pester Google about this I wouldn't be surprised if they changed their minds in the future.  If Google allowed webmasters to geoselect it would actually bring down the cost of ccTLDs for people to use in those specific countries since the more registrations you have the lower the annual domain renewal cost is.

There will be a lot of new global domain extensions that will be available for registration soon but I doubt the ccTLD craze will go away even with these new extensions on the horizon.  People really seem to like domain hacks and .IO for some reason.

Still most webmasters, including myself, would prefer to have the widest range of possible sources of traffic.  So in my opinion it is preferable to go with a global top level domain (gTLD) if you can.  I have Singing Dogs and that is a .NET.  A lot of good gTLDs are still out there and it still seems Google and Matt Cutts recommend you go with that anyway instead of choosing a country code top level domain which might confuse Google and users.