You need a .com domain, insists misleading advert

Posted on May 30, 2019


A recent advert we heard on Spotify prompted howls of laughter at Engage Web, followed by sombre reflection. This quickly turned to anger as the reality of what we had just heard set in.

An ad for the website dontbewithout.com, which is apparently owned by Verisign, was claiming your website isn’t worth having unless it has a .com domain.

A .com? The ONLY top-level domain worth having?

Sure a .com is worth having for your business. Especially if you want to protect your business brand. If you’re trading internationally, or in the USA, then a .com is certainly the one to go for. But the only one worth having? No.

If you’re a UK-based business then a .co.uk is just as good, if not better. Additionally, with dontbewithout.com itself claiming over 137 million .com domains have been registered to date, there are very few and far between options for businesses to grab themselves a suitable .com. Therefore, more relevant alternatives using different TLDs (top level domains) are often a better solution.

The website dontbewithout.com promotes .com domains as the only ones to have because it sells .com domains, obviously.

It doesn’t do it very well.

You’d think if you’d spent money on advertising with Spotify that you’d have ensured your website was ready for the additional business the promotion would bring. You’d be wrong, however.

The website features a three-step process to choosing your domain, with step one being to identify what your website should do. Step two is to choose your domain name, and step three is to choose a website builder (presumably they’re talking about Wix or something equally useless). The funny part is that this section of the site features the text:

“We recommend taking time to compare a few different website builders and carefully consider the premium packages.”

Except it doesn’t, as the word ‘carefully’ has a link for a search someone was making while throwing the website together dropped into the middle of it. The link is for ‘ACM ICPC’, which is a contest in programming. Maybe they should have concentrated more on the task at hand, rather than daydreaming while literally throwing this website together.

Spotify isn’t the only place this website has been promoted, it’s also received advertising on the London Underground – and that has attracted derision from others within the web design and online marketing industry.

Carl Hendy noticed the website featured a ‘noindex’ tag, which stopped it from being indexed by Google. This meant the whole website was blocked from Google. It’s a basic error that first-time web designers sometimes make when they launch a new website.

After he pointed this out, the error was fixed. However it’s not the only issue surrounding the London Underground advertising.

Matthew Campling has highlighted the potential animal abuse within their advertising.

This campaign seems to be going well. The advertising is of questionable morals, the message they’re conveying is incorrect and the website features many basic errors. You should trust what they say because…?

Don’t get us wrong, a .com domain is a great TLD. If you can get the .com for your company name, you should. However it’s not the only TLD. There are others and, depending on where your business is located and where it’s targeting, there may be better options.

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