Domain Name FAQ's
What is a Domain Name?
Every domain name is a unique web address. Used to represent things like brands or projects, we use domain names as our welcome sign on the internet. But they are also the operating base to individuals and businesses in the digital realm. Domain names are needed for the internet in the much the same way offices, clubs and stores are needed in our physical world.
Domain names form the root URL of a web page and are used to differentiate sites among millions of addresses and search results. They provide an easy-to-remember address for your visitors. Although .com is the most recognized extension, new extensions have gained usage because of their advantage to using both the left and right of the dot in conjunction for a perfectly fitted name.
A domain name is a powerful workhorse, incredibly capable of multiple tasks and serving as a central hub for any interest. Most domain names share the same technical capabilities no matter the extension, able to hone in on just specific functions such as email, forwarding and database login.
What are Next Generation domains?
Next generation domains come in the form of newer, tailored extensions within the traditional namespace. They work exactly the same as the older domains we are used to, but are usually more descriptive or edgy (.one, .express, .xyz, .club etc) than the classic extensions like .com or .net. We will call and refer to these types of domains as NexTLD's.
Web3 domains, such as Handshake or .crypto, are outside of the traditional namespace and powered by the blockchain. Handshake domains are able to use almost any name possible as its own top-level domain. These domains are denoted by the trailing / at the end of the name. Another type of Web3 domain are .crypto extensions, which have the ability to make crypto payments right to a domain name. Both of these Web3 domain types need a change of browser or DNS settings to resolve.
Which Domain is Best?
People often ask which kind of domain name is best. The answer is simple: the best domain name is one which clearly unites your brand and story.
Legacy domain names have been around since 1985. In fact, the first domain name ever created is alive and well- nordu.net. Shortly after the creation of the first domain name, the very first .com domain ever registered was symbolics.com. We've learned to trust the .com extension because we instantly recognize it and is used everywhere. But this doesn't always make it the best fit.
NexTLD domain names are distinguished from legacy domains in that the whole name is utilized, domain + extension. There is no wasted real estate. For example, this site, Genuine.Domains, takes advantage of the .domains extension and used together, Genuine Domains is the name of the site itself.
Consider your target audience when choosing a domain name; are you looking for a broad term that encompasses an entire industry, or something more refined, narrowed to a specific niche or point.
Should I invest in a premium domain name?
Your domain name is your identity on the Internet, and even carried on your bricks-and-mortar location. The right name used over time creates familiarity, thus establishing trust and credibility. Great domain names also appreciate in value over time if they have natural appeal.
Attempting to register a domain from scratch rather than from a domain professional is always possible but often comes with a cost to domain quality. Because most domains are taken, you'll be adding unecessary extra letters or words or even a hyphen, which is all detrimental to the brands' staying power.
Securing a proper domain name from the very beginning is an investment in your brand and an effective solution to a lasting online presence.
Can I buy a domain name forever?
There really isn't a way to buy a traditional domain name forever because they are on a yearly lease from their respective registrar. But a registrant (the domain's owner) can own a domain name indefinitely by keeping up with the yearly renewal fee. Most registrars (a registrar is the company in charge of your domain name's registration, renewals and DNS) do offer renewals for up to 10 years in advance. Some registries (a registry is the entity in charge of an extension, such as .one or .com) also offer registrar services. The registry for the .to ccTLD (a ccTLD stands for country-code top-level domain, like .ca or .us) does offer renewals for up 100 years in advance!
The only way you will lose your ICANN-based (traditional) domain is if you let it expire beyond its renewal period. Aways leave accurate contact information to your registrar so they are able to keep in touch with you, such as sending expiration notices. It is wise to note any relationship your domain name may have on existing trademarks as well. Infringing on another entities' mark, even unintended, is a good way to invite trouble and could result in the loss of the domain if used improperly.
Blockchain-based (Web3) domains are the only avenue towards permanent, forever ownership. Once you pay for the domain registration such as with Handshake domains or .crypto domains, you truly own the domain name forever.
How is a domain name tracked in the back-end?
Each top-level domain (extension) is maintained and serviced by a registry. The registry receives registration information from each domain name registrar authorized to assign names in the corresponding TLD and publishes the information using a special lookup service called the WHOIS protocol.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the top-level development and architecture of the traditional namespace. Although registries operate their TLDs, it is ICANN whom authorizes the domain name registrars, through which domain names may be registered and reassigned.
In the blockchain world, domain ownership is tracked and proven through digital ledgers, or transactions, that are permanently inscribed within the blockchain. Once written they cannot be removed or altered. This initial transaction is also done through a registrar, based on the either the Handshake (bitcoin) or ENS (ethereum) protocol.
Is this the end?
Not at all. Domain names are unlike any other branding method on earth. To adapt from the famous words of Marshall McLuhan "the medium is the message"; the domain IS the name. Choosing the right digital property may be the most important internet-related decision you will ever make. There is nothing is more exciting than building on the perfect cornerstone to your online venture!