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Should I get my second-domain name choice with a number of different first-level or country codes?

In general, no. Now the exceptions...

For the most part, the .com first-level domain name is the one which folks will remember intuitively. Indeed, most browsers today will automatically default to a .com if you do not type in a first-level domain name at all. The primary reason to also obtain the .net or .org is to absolutely prevent any possible confusion with another firm using the same second-level domain name.

McDonalds has mcdonalds.com as its domain name. mcdonalds.net, however, is registered to a completely different company. To avoid any possible confusion with such a valuable trade name, McDonalds probably should have registered .com, .net, and .org. Now granted, no one is probably going to confuse the mcdonalds.com and mcdonalds.net when they actually look at those two specific web sites, but what about if your competitor registers the .net? In that instance, if someone were to type in the wrong domain name, they would be at your competitor's web site and you would potentially lose business.

Perhaps the most glaring case of domain name confusion is found in one of the .gov domains. whitehouse.gov is the official web site of the White House and the executive branch of the government. Whitehouse.com, however, is (frankly) a porn site. I can assure you that they take many millions of hits per month when folks make that simple mistake. It is too late, though, for the actual White House to do much about it.

As far as obtaining country codes for your domain name, the answer is generally no as well. The exception is if you have or intend to have an international presence in specific countries. If you have a branch of your company in Italy, you may want to obtain company.it. In general, most countries require you to have a physical presence in the country of registration before you can use their country codes. There are some notable exceptions, though.

Certain countries have country codes that can be put to wide use and they will register anyone who will pay them. Examples are .tv for Tavulu, .md for Moklova, and .to for Tonga. These countries and some others just happen to have two-letter domain designations that mean something else apart from their own countries name and they are capitalizing on that coincidence.

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