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.

Short Domain Search

short domain searchJohn Forsythe, the creator of Impossibility.org, has just launched a new free domain search tool called Short Domain Search.  The goal of Short Domain Search is to help people find a quality short one word domain name for their new website or startup.

UPDATE – John has sold Short Domain Search to a domaining company.  He informed me that, “they're better positioned to profit from the traffic than I was (hence the sale).”  The Short Domain Search service and site is still active and useful for those looking for short domains for a web project and business.  They've added many features to it since I wrote this article.

This tool is different from Impossibility.org in that the focus is on short single world domains.  Virtually all of the good short single world .COM domains are taken and go for big bucks nowadays.  Short Domain Search focuses on mostly country code top level domains (ccTLD) which includes .CC, .CO, .IO, .NU, .ME, .BZ, .TV, and .US.   The only global top level domain (gTLD) that it includes is .BIZ.

John explained, “The extensions [were] chosen based on two factors: 1. The domains are easy to check for availability (sadly, not all TLDs are easy to check for various reasons), and 2. I started with TLDs that Google says can be geotargetted.  In other words, can work the same as .com, and show up for all users, not just for the particular country the domain represents.”

His reasoning for including these specific domain extensions for Short Domain Search makes sense since in Google Webmaster Support they have a list of ccTLDs they consider are ok for global use.  Although back in February of this year Matt Cutts shot a Google Webmaster Help video saying he isn't so crazy about domain hacks and vanity domains that use ccTLDs.  Regarding startup domains he specially mentioned .IO which is for domain extension for the Indian Ocean.  The .IO extension is popular with startups these days since in computer talk I/O stands for input-output.  Kinda geeky.

How Short Domain Search works is that the server has a group of 2948 hand-picked words it searches for.  All the words are short between 3-5 letters.  As soon as a domain becomes available (expires) it gets added to the list. Once someone buys a domain name, it will be automatically removed within a few minutes, “The list updates every 60 seconds, and all the domains are checked at least once every 10 minutes, so the list should be very fresh.” commented John.

Short Domain Search allows you to sort domains by length, alphabetically, or by extension.  If you only want to see domains available from a specific extension type in a “dot” plus the domain extension in the search bar.  For example if I want to check .IO domains I would type “.io” for all the available short .IO domains.  (Don't capitalize “.io” or it will not work.)

Playing around with Short Domain Search I think it is a good tool for startups that are searching for an extremely short domain name and are not concerned about using a ccTLD.  For those that are super tech-savy using a non-COM seems to be all the rage nowadays.  While I did find some good short domains I would personally prefer a .NET, .ORG, or .INFO over a short ccTLD.  I do own a few .US domains though.

In my opinion it can't hurt to try these 4 tools and Impossibility first.  You would be surprised by some of the quality 2-word .COM domains you can find still and other gTLDs.  Hey, ShortDomainSearch.net was still available to register.

John informed me he has plans to expand the domain extension offering for Short Domain Search.  “I plan to add more extensions in the future, particularly as some of the crazy new ones come online (like .app).”

Since the tool is called Short Domain Search John wants to concentrate on short domain names for now.  “I wanted to make it easy for people to find short, single word domain names. I think most people don't realize there's still lots of good ones left.” said John about his new domain tool.

If you have any questions or recommendations for Short Domain Search you can email – John AT blamcast.net.

Matt Cutts doesn’t recommend ccTLD Domain Hacks

In a Google Webmaster video that was released today Matt Cutts seems to suggest that using what is known as “Domain Hacks” is not necessarily a great idea.  Here is the question that he responded to in the the Google Webmaster video.

We have a vanity domain (http://ran.ge) that unfortunately isn't one of the generic TLDs, which means we can't set our geographic target in Webmaster Tools. Is there any way to still target our proper location?

Aaron D Campbell, Phoenix, AZ

I am glad Aaron asked this as using a vanity domain, aka Domain Hacks, is something I was curios to know since I have thought about registering a few.  For those don't know, Domains Hacks or a vanity domain is when a person, business, or site decides to utilize a country code top level domain (ccTLD) to complete a word or phrase.  This is instead of using a more generic top level domain (gTLD) such as a COM, NET, or ORG.  A good example of a Domain Hack would be Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, using Ma.TT for his personal blog.  The .TT domain extension is technically for Trinidad & Tobago but Matt Mullenweg isn't using it for a business for Trinidad & Tobago just his personal blog.

Over the past couple years vanity domains and domain hacks have really grown in popularity and use.  Most domainers, internet marketers, and web professionals know that finding a good .COM domain at a reasonable price is slim nowadays.  Even finding a suitable .NET  and. ORG domain these days that has not been taken can also be a challenge.  I felt lucky when I was able to get the domain for Singing Dogs.

A lot of savy internet entrepreneurs have turned to using domain hacks and vanity domains like Aaron and his business partners with Ran.GE which I think is a smart domain.  (In case you didn't watch the video that is the ccTLD for Georgia. No, not the the US state the country.)

While there are quite clever domain hacks and vanity domains in use, Matt Cutts warns that Google categorizes ccTLDs as being for the specific country that they were originally intended for.  So if you are using .ES, the ccTLD for Spain, Google will assume you are targeting Spanish traffic since that is mainly what the domain is for.  So unfortunately Aaron and his buddies can't tell Google specifically that, “Hey, this domain is not for the country of Georgia.”

There have been a few successful ccTLDs that have gone mainstream in the past few years.  This includes .ME the original ccTLD for Montenegro, .CO which was originally for Columbia, and .TV which was the ccTLD for islands of Tuvalu.  A lot of internet start-ups really like .ME and .CO which I don't really understand honestly.  The domain extension .TV is somewhat popular due to the fact it can be used for video and show purposes.  (Keep in mind though that since these were adopted for use globally they are treated differently by Google now.)

What I took away from the video was that it is better to stick with a gTLD (com, net, org) since there won't be any confusion with Google or more importantly site visitors.  So you might want to think carefully before registering  domain hacks or vanity domains.