Repurpose these 15 ccTLDs for a stickier domain name
Last week, an ex-Hillary Clinton campaign staff member launched a new website, the name of which combines Millennial slang and US President-elect Donald Trump's possible conflicts of interest. Its name? Corrupt.AF. The country code domain extension for Afghanistan is used to suggest Trump is corrupt "AF," texting argo for "as f---."
Increase stickiness with the right ccTLD
Corrupt.AF has garnered considerable media attention thanks, in part, to its domain, demonstrating how finding new ways to hack a ccTLD can prevent a website from being sucked into the Internet vortex of similar-sounding domain names.
The site's name manages to achieve rule #1 of online branding: be sticky. And sticky it is. The name stands out not only because it’s short, clever, and easy to remember, but also because it leaves no uncertainty about the site’s purpose. The name Corrupt.AF prompts engagement before one even enters the site.
Repurposing a ccTLD as a pseudo-generic top level domain (gTLD) is nothing new. Many ccTLDs have proven useful beyond their initial purpose: targeting Internet users in specific locations. Previously unheard of country codes like .NU, .AS, or .IS have been given a second life thanks to their hacking-potential and adaptability.
Although not all ccTLDs are flexible enough to be hacked, and some may require registration through a local presence service, the following are prime examples of ccTLDs which have shown themselves to be especially adaptable.
Hackable ccTLDs: tried and tested
It’s all about you with .ME. .ME, the ccTLD for Montenegro (which the James Bond film, Casino Royale, helped put on the map) is available to anyone and, as you can imagine, has become popular in English-speaking countries. Often used to market blogs and personal websites, opportunities for hacking .ME are endless. Pick a verb, any verb, and add .ME to create a name (or a na.ME) that is direct, cool, cute, child-friendly or otherwise
.IO, .SH, .TO
Several ccTLDs have been put to new use by the tech community with .IO, the ccTLD for the British Indian Ocean Territories, perhaps the biggest success story. IO, an existing acronym for input-output which also happens to look like a binary 10, became the ultimate in online techy fashion a few years back. According to industry statistics, .IO now makes up 0.1% of all web addresses, and is used for a variety of open source projects, apps, and other web-related services.
But don’t forget Saint Helena’s .SH, popular with developers as .SH brings to mind Unix shell, and Tonga’s .TO, associated with torrents. Although neither have caught on quite like .IO, they have, nevertheless, taken on a certain cachet within the tech world.
.LY, the domain extension for Libya, has remained popular for some time and is available to the general public. .LY is a sought-after domain thanks to its adaptability. Adverbs, those grammatical units used to express how something is done or how often it is done, often end in “ly”. Adding .LY to pretty much any adjective will enable you to create an adverb which can then be used to construct a clever domain name.
Seriously, the hacking potential is endless. Nearly any adjective will work. .LY makes it absurdly easy to come up with a good name. Almost effortlessly.
.AM, .FM, .CD, .TV, .DJ
Several ccTLDs can be hacked to help you corner the online audiovisual market or create a name that is associated with the television and music worlds. Just ask fans of Will.I.Am, the famous American singer songwriter, who used Armenia’s ccTLD to name their online fan page, Will.I.AM. Or look no further than the music streaming service using Micronesia’s .FM, the online music reseller employing the Democratic Republic of Congo’s .CD, or the digital multicast network who has adopted .TV, ccTLD for Tuvalu.
And mix masters, what are you waiting for? .DJ has your name all over it. Better register yours soon before Wall Street types recognise the Dow Jones potential of Djibouti’s ccTLD.
Life after .COM
With available .COMs increasingly difficult to come by, hacked ccTLDs present unique opportunities for creating names that are unique, catchy, and not soon forgotten. The right ccTLD will help to differentiate your site, giving you a stronger online presence and better market positioning.
Avoid giving your website visitors a serious case of deja.VU. Establish an idiosyncratic presence with a creatively reimagined ccTLD!