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What's up with single letter domains?

8:58 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's a slow day, so here's a fairly pointless topic:

Just out of curiosity, I went to www.a.com to see if anything was there. There wasn't. There wasn't anything at www.b.com either, or any of the single letter dot coms. Until I went to www.x.com, which forwarded me to paypal, and then www.z.com, which gave me a certificate warning, which I ignored, and it ended up taking me to the actual z.com, which turns out to be owned by Nissan.

So my question is: what's up with that? Why isn't anyone using single letter dot com names? It seems like "a.com" or i.com or u.com would be a pretty unbeatable domain name.

I would've assumed that they aren't allowed to be registered, but then there's Paypal and Nissan...

9:05 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Six single-letter domain names were registered before ICANN reserved them. They are q.com for Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q) ; x.com for PayPal; z.com for Nissan's Z cars; i.net, a domain name registration company; q.net, registered to "Q Networks," but the Web site was down when checked; x.org for the X.Org Foundation, an open-source organization.

From [technewsworld.com...]

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 9:05 pm (utc) on Mar. 21, 2007]

9:56 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Interesting article.

"If it's a single letter domain name, how much roadway does it have?" Leslie Ament, director, customer intelligence research, Aberdeen, told TechNewsWorld. "How much brand equity is in a single letter vs. a domain? Why would IBM (NYSE: IBM) , for instance, want to be I? It's not closely enough related to the brand name to be worth it."

That seems a little ridiculous to me. I'm pretty sure most webmasters would kill for a "www.i.com" or "www.a.com".

"If one of my clients asked me about it, I'd recommend against it," she said. "It may be a status symbol for rich individuals, like a license plate, but I don't see the business value."

What domain name could be easier to remember than "www.a.com"?

"I think the best way to distribute them is first to the companies that have a single character ticker symbol, such as "A" for Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A)..."

I think that when ICANN releases the single letter domain names, they should not just hand them over to corporate giants. But, of course, that's probably how it will go.


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