My simple view of domains

June 29, 2019 (Sat). In today's world of too many choices, life can be difficult. To make it easier, I try to live a simple life, which also applies to my view of domains.

What is a domain? A domain is a digital address. To be exact, a domain is a simple representation of the actual, difficult-to-remember address in the digital world, such as for (try it in your browser!).

Specifically, a domain consists of two parts: name + extension. In the example of, "Alibaba" is a name and ".com" an extension. A name can be as long as 63 characters consisting of letters, numbers, or hyphens. There are over 1,000 extensions which fall into three types: global extension (.com), country extensions (.cn, .us, .jp, .uk etc.), and others (.org, .net, .club, .baidu, etc.).

As domains are addresses, their prices tend to rise over the long term just like those in the physical world. You may not know that .com domains were free to register in the early 1990s but now the best ones are worth millions of dollars. For example, was free to register at one time but recently sold for a whopping $30 million.

The best domain of a corporation matches its brand because it is the easiest to remember. For example, Alibaba is, Baidu is, and Tencent is In my observation, the EnglishDotCom (English-based name + .com) domain strategy is very popular across the world because English is the global language and .com the global extension.

Nonetheless, some startups like to use funky domains based on country extensions but there are risks. In 2013, American art company Artsy found its internet business on the domain shut down when the Syrian government turned off its internet during the civil war. In 2017, the domain was taken away from its long-time owner by the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Unlike in the physical world, a digital address has no limit in its space. You can build a super store on your domain and constantly expand its space as needed. More importantly, you have complete freedom to run your business the way you want it instead of depending on the kindness of strangers if you operate your business from a free shelter offered by the likes of Facebook.

Once you acquire a domain, you must pay a renewal fee every year to maintain your ownership. If you fail to do so, your domain will expire and may be auctioned off to the highest bidder. You also need to protect your domains. Make sure you are recorded as the owner in the ownership record (also called Whois record), and implement security measures to prevent hackers from stealing your domain.

This is a summary of my simple view of domains. I hope you like it.

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