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Domain Strategy Bulletin
Published Every Saturday

June 9, 2018 (Sat)

How I tackle domain jargon

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I'm a simple man. I try to simplify things while living in this complicated world. When it comes to the subject of domains, I do the same too. In this article, I'd like to look at some jargon used in the domain industry and translate them to simple English.

First, the terms "domain names" and "domains" are used interchangeably in the industry, but I prefer "domains" because it is simpler and also convenient when explaining what a domain is. A domain is a digital address which consists of a name, a dot, and an extension. Examples are,, and When sub-domains are used, additional dots can be seen -- for example and

ccTLD and gTLD are the two types of domain extensions. ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain) refers to a country extension which always has two characters. Examples are .cn for China, .us for USA, and .jp for Japan. gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domains) refers to a generic extension (i.e. not country extension). Examples are .org for non-profit organization, .com for commerce, and .club for club.

Hand register, drop-catching, and aftermarket are the three methods to acquire a domain. If a domain you desire is not owned by anyone, you are lucky. You can simply register it at a domain registrar such as Godaddy or Alibaba Cloud. The cost can be as low as $1. Be aware that domain ownership can only be maintained by paying a renewal fee to the domain registrar every year. Some owners, due to a variety of reasons, may not pay this fee. The domain will then become expired. The moment it is dropped from the registration, all interested buyers can try to register it but only the fastest hand gets the domain. This method is slightly more expensive. Lastly, many owners want to sell their domains, so they list their domains at a marketplace such as Sedo or This method usually costs you significant amount of money.

Whois is ownership record of a domain which you can view by using a free Whois service such as Because of privacy concern, many domain registrars are limiting the amount of ownership details you can view. The most important piece of information in the Whois record is the registrant data. If a domain is owned by your company, make sure the registrant is your company name. The Whois record also contains three additional types of contacts for your domain: billing, technical, and administrative. Try to assign them to different persons within your organization. This can minimize the risk of your domain being stolen by a hacker or disgruntled contractor.

This article shows you that you can engage in a conversation about domains without using the domain jargon. The highlighted terms are those I try to use instead of the jargon. I hope you like them.


Join me on LinkedIn for further discussion.