Why I Don't Like .biz Domain Names

Jun 11th

Question: I have a .biz website that ranks well in some of the major search engines for a few keywords, but does not rank as well as I would like for many other keywords. Should I consider switching to a .com domain name?

Answer: In the long run I think it is worth moving away from .biz if you are creating a real long-term business. The web was created to share information, and businesses are generally viewed less admirably than the individuals that work in them. As long as relevancy algorithms are based largely on links, then a .biz extension could hurt your exposure in most fields.

Most web companies that control large traffic flow have taught their userbase (and those who they trust to vote) that commercial = spam. To put this in perspective, some journalists write entire articles about businesses and then do not link to the businesses because they feel that doing so would be too promotional. In competitive fields sometimes only a few links separate a business that is getting 5% of the traffic or 30% of the traffic a search engine offers.

If you are starting your business on a .biz it doesn't matter if you have the best information in the world...the bias of .biz (and toward business in general) is going to hurt your exposure, making your business less efficient and increasing your business cost. The small businesses that are best sustainable on the web are those that function as businesses yet have the feel of non-commercial sites (and acquire links as though they are non-commercial sites).

Published: June 11, 2007

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Comments

Patrick
June 12, 2007 - 4:24pm

"biz looks like "business" and com which is "commercial" doesn't ?

Because the internet society embraced .com as a generic tld, this makes it the only one we must use ?"

I have a thing for metaphors, I guess:

The business world embraced suits. Just because everybody embraces suits in the business world doesn't mean you have to wear a suit when you show up for an interview.

You could of course wear a mohawk and jogging pants. But if you want to impress the interviewer and have a chance of landing the job, you should wear a suit.

.com's are the suits of the web (in the US). If you want to get links it might be a better idea to get a well-respected professional-looking .com instead of a not (yet?) respected .biz.

David Sprake
June 12, 2007 - 5:36pm

I have a few great keyword .biz names (cost me pennies) that seem to be getting more and more type in traffic, I market and SEO them just the same as .com names and get similar results- why shouldn’t I?
The search engin does not look at the extension.
When i ask for links- I get a same % success as with .com (its the website that counts)
Whatever you wish about .biz, people are discovering new extensions- I think .com will always be king –but that doesn’t mean there’s room for lots of princes!!! Hay and what do princes turn into??
I don’t blame someone with lots of .com real estate to rubbish other extensions, but it might come back and bite you one day. (or maybe you are putting every one else off while quietly buying up key .biz properties??? )
I have had some substantial offers for credit.biz, chat.biz and email.biz, is it you??????

Marc Witteveen
June 12, 2007 - 7:29pm

Hi,

I believe the TLD in choice should be carefully selected on the type of business you are in and in which country you will do your business in. For example, if you are in the television business, it could be worthy of your bucks to buy a dot TV domain. Depending on how you put it on the market it people will remember it.

Coming to the next topic, do people remember domains or just keywords in your advertisement campaign? Ask your self, do you remember a domain name on a billboard or a slogan printed on it? Like “lets make things better”, or “start me up”. To my opinion it’s all up to SEO, people don’t remember domain names such as www.iwantedthelongestdomainname.com. It’s all up to good old Google that will help you find it.

Now a days when most good com domain names are taken we have to switch to alternatives, such as cc, ws, tv and biz. It should be up to the search engine to rank the content accordingly not to the selected TLD.

Marc Witteveen

www.marcwitteveen.com

Anthony
June 12, 2007 - 7:34pm

Aaron, FYI - you are still listed on the EliteRetreat.info site.

June 12, 2007 - 7:43pm

I think many of you are missing the point - Aaron is not suggesting that .com does not mean 'business' or 'commercial' or whatever. Of course it does, and he knows that.

I think he is referring to the popular opinion where .com is considered to be the default, and any non-.com,non-.net.,.org or non-country code TLD are just kind of 'expected' to be spammy. Kind of like cheap knockoffs for companies that weren't legitimate enough to get the .com.

In short, in popular opinion, .com, .ca, .net, .org and associated domains associate a type of legitimacy to a site that isn't so easily obtained by .biz, .info, .mobi or any of the other 'cheap' TLDs.

Pratik
June 14, 2007 - 9:15am

I have a domain name www.axiominfo.biz and i have done lot of hard work on SEO to get this domain up with call center keywords. It is ranking good in yahoo and MSN. As the above posts says that .biz is no good do i think i wasted my 3 years and i have to throw the site with PR 5 ? Please advise.

August 14, 2007 - 5:56am

I think that .TV could pick up steam in the coming years in a big way simply because it is descriptive and internationally recognized. You know what you get (rich media), it is easy to brand, and sounds fun compared to all the others.

Dan
June 15, 2007 - 6:52pm

I would have to say there is a lot of technicality in the comments going on here. If you're really getting a domain name for the marketability of it, I personally believe you should almost always go with a .com simply because its the one that most people will think of by default. In the end, who cares what they actually stand for? Worry more about what 'real people' will consider typing in their address bar. When you tell people about a website do you always make sure you tell them what the extension is, or do you just tell them the name of the site. Most people will just tell their friends the name of the site, and that friend will automatically think .com. Its the standard, and thus the most important.

Alec
June 16, 2007 - 5:08am

Biz just sounds sleasy. .business would be better.

Aaron is right on the mark.

Domain speculators, back off.

What's with the .pk spammers having a field day with advertising in the comments to every thread.

Their site loads fast (surprise) but they have some of the stupidest and out of date suggestons for SEO I've heard in a while. They will "submit your site to search engines" for $145.

Aaron, clean them out before it gets out of hand (oops too late). Totally out of hand, anyway.

And turn the URL field back on and hire someone to look after lousy comments for you.

Ryan
July 24, 2007 - 5:29pm

I didn't like the .biz ext at first, but after seeing my Uncle's .biz do well on Yahoo, my bias for it went away. In Yahoo, www.CorporateDining.biz has been coming up as no. 2 for over a year when you enter "Corporate Dining". It also is a "business".

I recently purchased the www.Mackinac.biz domain name. I think no matter what ext it is, one word domain names will gain value in the future. My personally opinion is that as the Internet gets older and less domain names become available (especially the 1 word names), I think they will gain in value.

But you guys are right. I would take Mackinac.com over Mackinac.biz anyday. But I still think www.Mackinac.biz would be better than MackinacWebsite.com or MackinacSite.com. Especially if I'm looking into getting people who type in "Mackinac" keywords...

Good topic!

July 24, 2007 - 5:40pm

Just one last thing I'd like to add is that I also picked a .biz domain name because the one I picked was previously owned and contained archives in the wayback machine. Many people say that the age factor of a domain name can help you with SEO.

I've also gotten used to it. The .biz doesn't look to bad. See: (LOL)

RAS
www.Mackinac.biz

pat
June 11, 2007 - 9:37am

There are successful biz's out there, but I agree they are the minority. I absolutely agree with your reasoning. there isn't going to be a redcross.biz getting any link love out there, because as you say, biz is a bright red flag stating "I am Commercial" that bieng said, if I happened upon hmmm...

show.biz

I could do a little something with that.

Scott Buckland
June 11, 2007 - 9:48am

I totally agree about going for a .com over a .biz to get real credibility, but I would have to disagree on the reasoning. I may be wrong but I wouldn't think that it's because people think that a .biz is commercial that they don't like it so much. After all the .com does stand for Commercial, that's why they created .org domain also. The .biz domain came after .com and has always looked cheap and tacky to me and I wouldn't be surprised if many other people think the same way. Tacky or unprofessional leads to lack of trust and could also lead you to think a possible source of spam.

June 11, 2007 - 9:59am

A lot of the things web users trust are already on .com domains...thus if .com has any bias it is one toward affinity and trust.

Rainer
June 11, 2007 - 10:13am

I am sure, you remember the top-level domain history. com means commercial, edu means education and org means organisation. Unfortunately lots of people took com domains for private websites, that's why we invented the biz domain.

And the point is: biz is meant for international business. In Germany we don't have a German "com" domain, we only have "de". So what should we use for business?

OK, you invented the internet in USA - but it's high time to look at it as a global technology!

Best regards from Germany (using http://www.feike.biz)!

Patrick
June 11, 2007 - 11:05am

Hi Rainer,

I'm from Germany, too. I have to disagree with what you said, though. Why couldn't we use .com, too? It isn't supposed to mean commercial(usa), but just commercial.

For a German site, I'd always stick to a .de whether's it's business or not. And if the site is especially for international business .com I don't see anything wrong with .com, either.

But then again, I got to admit, that a German domain name with a .com looks really strange to my eyes hehe.

(I think Aaron probably only meant to refer to the US-market ?)

June 11, 2007 - 11:18am

If I were .de and was catering to the .de market I surely would rather use .de over .biz.

John
June 11, 2007 - 1:04pm

If you're running a global site (selling information for example), you absolutely need a .COM

If you're running a local business in the US, or a retail business largely aimed at US customers, one of the most untapped areas of domains at the moment is the .US country code. Lots of quality keyword names available relatively cheaply compared to .COM.

Peter
June 11, 2007 - 3:41pm

I'd presume that your advice would be similar on .info domains, or perhaps that they'd rank even lower than .biz domains. So, I'd be interested to hear your take on the domain being used for Elite Retreat, considering you're a partner in that business. You wouldn't recommend .biz for a long-term serious business venture, and .info being at best on par with .biz, does that mean you don't consider Elite Retreat a serious venture?

JasonMurphy
June 11, 2007 - 6:35pm

I think that ICANN just accept a .spam TLD proposal already. ;)

Julie VanMersbergen
June 11, 2007 - 7:07pm

98% of people I see taking .biz domains have a domain that is the same as something on a dot-com.

Given that most web users are more familiar with the dot-com address, I tell people who are determined to get the domain with 'keywords' by going for dot-biz that they may lose equity and link-love by doing so.

June 11, 2007 - 7:48pm

Hi Peter
In some cases I like .info, because it hints at something being informational, though in almost ever case I would rather have the .com, .net, .org, or .cctld for locally targeted sites.

I did not like the .info extension for Elite Retreat, but the conference is a good model for delivering value. Also it is worth noting that I am no longer affiliated with Elite Retreat.

DirectoryFire.com
June 11, 2007 - 8:02pm

I agree that .biz is not a good extension but I disagree on the reasoning:

The reason .biz is not a good domain to use for a Web site is because the .biz extension is not the standard domain that people are used to. People are used to the .com extension, and the .com extension is considered the standard domain to use on the Web. This is not going to change. Its simply the way it is, as the .com extension is the original.

Most people are not like you Aaron, they don't hate big commerical businesses. The world is dominated by commerical businesses! Think of anything popular, Google, Microsoft, Dell, Apple...
People like commercial businesses!

When most people think of 'commerical' they think of it being business related and proffesional.

Your post was so stupid, because after all, the .com extension stands for commercial!

June 11, 2007 - 8:15pm

I think the line "your post was so stupid..." was, at best, obnoxious.

Ask 100 random people what .com stands for. I bet less than 10 know. .com is seen as a default...it is so ubiquitous that it has lost its original meaning. Now it just means website.

Mack
June 11, 2007 - 9:32pm

I would pick .com as my main any day. Simply because stated above people think of it as a default.

I would like to see some advice on multiple domains and how they can be used to hurt you or help you.

I bought all of my extension and a few other that I thought were good too, but now what to do with them?

DirectoryFire
June 12, 2007 - 12:08am

You have a point Aaron. Most people do not know what .com stands for, it it simply means "website" to most people.

However, I do disagree with you that the reason to stay away from a .biz domain is because people view a business as being commercial.

I think being viewed as being commercial is a positive thing.

The truth is hardly any commercial company will ever use a .biz domain, and the people that do use a .biz domain are usually small businesses.

As someone else here has stated, a .biz domain is viewed as being 'cheap.' Thats the main problem with it. It does not mean commerical, it means a cheap business' website.

Sorry to be obnoxious, what I should have said is that your post contains some irony in it.

Thank you for the follow up Aaron.

Adam Moro
June 12, 2007 - 12:16am

Has anyone ever found substantial evidence that .com domains are favored algorithmically? I personally found it more difficult to get a .biz ranking but I'm curious to hear it from someone with experiential knowledge.

Bill Hartzer
June 12, 2007 - 1:26am

I'm not sure if I buy the reasoning behind "get away from a dot biz domain name." After all, it's the internet, and a lot of traffic can come from search engines and other links.

If a business has a name that's pretty generic like "Smith Company" or something like that, then there's a good chance that there are a lot of other companies with similar names. There can only be one smith.com, so I would prefer to use smith.biz rather than something like smith-company-dallas.com or smith-company-inc.com. Sure, it depends on what's available, though.

I ran into a similar situation recently with a generic company name. And we chose a shorter domain name and added the company's primary keyword to the domain name (e.g., smithkeyword.com), especially since all of the others were taken and no one wanted to sell their domain name.

If you're able to get a short dot biz name with the intention of moving later on to a dot com if it's available, then that is also an option, as well. When it comes to actual rankings in the search engines, it's my opinion that there's really no TLD preference by the engines.

But, there seems as if there's some sort of "bias" like you're alluding to--that the media and others may not link to dot biz. The bias may be there, but it's going away as many people realize that a lot of the dot coms are taken. As long as the business is able to find a good, short name, then it may work for a period of time.

Don't forget that there are a lot of good domain names out there that people have not renewed; you may able to find a good dot com that is expired and you might find something "better" than a dot biz.

Bryan
June 12, 2007 - 4:23am

When I first heard about it, a friend told me to "check out craigslist". I went home and typed www (dot) craigslist (dot) com. Of course, I didn't find it and went to google and typed in craigslist and found it. Why did I type in .com? I think it is because I have been programmed like everyone else to think internet=.com. With the exceptions of .edu and .gov, it is my opinion that anything else is just for the search engines and otherwise will be very hard to brand. Can you imagine a TV commercial saying "check out the new highlander at toyota.org. That's .org, folks, not .com" because naturally after the .COM (not .biz) BUBBLE burst, everyone assumes .com. Just my 3 cents (inflation).

SEOgeek.com
June 12, 2007 - 12:13pm

.com is supposed to be used by commercial websites but now the general thinking is that it stands for a website.
There is nothing wrong in using .biz domain but the story about Rent.net is real that people tend to forget other domains (.net, .org, .info, etc).
Rent. net spent a fortune to market its business but at the end of the day people who wanted to visit its site went to Rent.com instead.

Nick
June 12, 2007 - 1:24pm

I had very high appreciation for you Aaron but reading these crap (irresponsible statement if you don't like the word 'crap') totally blasted your expertise to the sky for me

biz looks like "business" and com which is "commercial" doesn't ?
Because the internet society embraced .com as a generic tld, this makes it the only one we must use ?

Certainly .com has more value but clearly for one reason only, has much more demand. This is not because it's nice or beautiful but because through the years most of the internet together with respected and big companies adopted it. It created the "replication" model where minor people/firms follow the steps of people leading this business

Why don't we stop all the other TLDs, even better terminate ccTLDs too. One TLD is enough if it's the only one people know
Why ICANN takes applications for more TLDs ?

I think the question was about ranking and your reply should be "no, the TLD has nothing to do with rank spots"
He didn't ask which TLD looks better, with the obvious answer ... "com"
If Google launch Google.biz , and makes .com redirect to .biz how many people you think they will run try to grab a .biz version of their site ?

You compare a TLD with 15 years history for another with just few years, a TLD that internet was based on because there was no other that time with a totally new one

Looks logical to me for your service awareness .com to have the first place
Afterall USA was one of the last countries without a ccTLD
Only until recently felt the need to launch the .us
.com served as regional and international TLD

I respect your opinion as a simple user but you know you're not a simple user. As a specialist your words have more weight. For this reason when you "drop" these lines makes much more noise than a simple person

Sorry but deleting my seobook bookmark. Aaron i will give you an advice, it's good when you speak for things you know but when you try to speculate to look professional for things you obviously don't know or can't understand it's better to leave these fields untouched, at least not before you read and understand their operation

April 3, 2008 - 12:54am

Aaron,

I think I understand your position to be that you prefer .com tld's over everything else and don't like .biz.

Would you select a 2 keyword.info over a 3 keyword.com or does it matter that much?

for instance

costarica.info
costaricaguide.com

(Not that those are available, just examples)
In this example guide would not be a viable ranking part of the domain name...just something that is available.

Thanks,
Roger

April 3, 2008 - 2:27am

Hi Roger
I would probably prefer the .info over that .com

April 3, 2008 - 3:55am

Aaron,

Ok, thanks for your response. I also want you to know that your site is incredible but your "about" page is the best I have ever seen.....

April 3, 2008 - 8:05am

Thnx Roger. :)

December 17, 2007 - 7:30pm

Our 4 year old .biz site ranks #1 position for all our keywords in Yahoo and MSN, but barely shows up in the top 1000 in Google. It seems next to impossible for this site to get good ranking in Google in a semi competitive market. We are considering changing over to a .com domain, but wondering what the proper procedure is for this move. Our main target market is primarily using Google for searches, although we get good business from the other search engines as well. Site is wetrain.biz. Show me a single .biz site that ranks well in Google in a competitive market and I may change my mind.

December 17, 2007 - 7:51pm
March 19, 2009 - 2:43am

Hm, I've just registrated my first ever .BIZ ( realmoneypoker.biz ). Interesting... will google rank me or not?

March 19, 2009 - 3:14am

If you claim to be a "Pro SEO" then you should know the answer to that question, right?

March 19, 2009 - 10:47pm

Yes, I know the answer ;-) But if admins will keep moderating my comments, it will be very hard :-D ;-) (Joke).

PS: Sorry for spam, I just needed to show it to Bots.

March 23, 2009 - 3:48pm

Hi Aaron,

Interested in hearing your thoughts on a few topics:

1) What do you think about .cc as it relates to trust (human & search engine), SEO, memorability, branding, etc. & as a TLD alternative to .com/.net?

2) Which would you pick out of these? Does it depend on how many characters the other "attached" word is? Assume base keyword is 5-7 characters.

keywordotherword[dot]com OR keyword[dot]cc?
keywordotherword[dot]net OR keyword[dot]cc?
keyword-otherword[dot]com OR keyword[dot]cc?
keyword-otherword[dot]net OR keyword[dot]cc?

3) Would you begin using the .cc version if there was a strategy in place to acquire other domains (not necessarily to move the site, but for branding and to then forward into a section of the .cc site)? **I suppose this question could apply to any other domain or TLD that wouldn't initially be considered "favorable"

Thank you

March 24, 2009 - 4:16am

Hi MK4
I answer SEO questions in our member forums. Incidentally this is the thread you want.

June 13, 2009 - 12:09pm

The date of this post is June 2007, do you think that with the recent emphasis by Google on "branding" that the situation may have changed?

My thoughts are that using the .biz is actually being truthful and letting people know that you are a business.

June 14, 2009 - 7:52pm

in a word? no.

.biz is still as bad as ever

June 15, 2009 - 5:58pm

Many thanks for your quick response.

August 3, 2009 - 6:38am

I agree with the author because for the same domain name, my com is doing well and biz is not. I didn't know about that before I read this article. Now I decide to change my biz to different com.

Thanks,

Jeff Henry

March 6, 2012 - 12:09pm

In my views, .biz extension is becoming the most valuable as the time passes, there are many businesses who are prefer to choose the .biz domains. This is one of the top level domain in the industry.

March 6, 2012 - 5:10pm

...in some EU countries like Germany (they tend to use plenty of .biz and .info names over there), but is certainly not the case in the US or most markets.

August 5, 2013 - 5:32am

Well, I agree .biz domains were not popular before. But now, according to new stats of 2013, .biz is growing rapidly among all TLDs. In near future, .biz is going to spread all over the internet , even an email website I've seen with .biz extension, i.e. Email.biz . It provides personalized email domains. So .biz have been captured by Email Services too, so there are very much chances of capturing other kind of websites too.

August 5, 2013 - 3:30pm

...not entirely uncommon in some German speaking regions, however they are still a #fail in most English markets. I can only think of maybe 3 or 4 .biz domain names in English that are well known sites off the top of my head.

And, with all the new domain extensions coming out, many domainers are churning a higher percent of their .net and .org domain names...so it's doubtful that .biz sustainable spreads over a longer arch of time in the face of that secular shift.

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