Study shows that people remember domain names as having .com on the end.

One of the problems with using a top level domain name other than .com is memorability. While it might stand out to people as new or unique, many people will remember your domain name as a .com.

This is especially the case when people can’t see it, such as hearing a radio commercial for a website. But it’s even a factor when people do see the domain name, and that’s clear in a clever study performed by Kyle Byers of GrowthBadger.

Kyle surveyed 1,500 people and didn’t tell them the study was about domain names. He asked them how trustworthy a site was and the only information he gave them was a domain name. It ended in .com or one of seven other domain name extensions.

Overall, the ones that ended in .com had the highest trustworthiness score.

But the most intriguing thing to me was quantifying recall. After asking about the website, Kyle threw in a bunch of other questions to create some time between reviewing the domain and a final question: what was the domain name they saw on the first screen?

People were more likely to remember the domain if it was a .com. And if they misremembered the domain extension? They almost always misremembered it as .com:

Graph showing people who misremember domain names and which top level domain they choose

If they misremember the TLD, most remember it as .com. Graphic courtesy GrowthBadger.

This doesn’t surprise me but quantifies the effect.

Kyle has an interesting takeaway that domain investors will like:

The domain he tested was MattressRankings.TLD. The .com is on the aftermarket for about $4,000; the others can be hand registered. Kyle asks, isn’t it worth paying extra for the aftermarket domain in light of the findings?

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