10 Reasons why .io & .co Domains are growing in popularity and trust

David Lauchenauer
David·April 2, 2021
Find affordable domains now

In the past few years, there has been a noticeable shift in popular top-level domains (TLD). Some of the strongest competitors on the list of popular TLDs are ".io" and ".co". They belong to the fastest growing domains, which will take a slice of the “.com” monopoly. This article will explore the top 10 reasons why “.io” & “.co” domains are finally great alternatives.


1. Established Companies start to build projects on .io and .co domains

When Google build their design platform www.material.io back in 2014 it started a huge shift towards alternative domains. They made clear that “.com” isn’t the only viable option any longer. Bigger names like www.greenhouse.io, www.codepen.io or www.ouo.io also led the example. Next to “.io” also “.co” didn’t fall flat, with names like Twitter buying t.co or the photo editing app VSCO also hosting their web-based social Network on www.vsco.co.


2. Big domain sellers buy up the good available “.com” before you can get them

The big players in the domain market buy up the great and brandable “.com” domains, making them rare and expensive to acquire. Leading more companies to go with alternative TLDs because they can find the domains they want to have without needing to pay a fortune.


3. The growing popularity brings more users to those domains which grow trust further

What is often referred to as a feedback loop is currently happening with alternative TLDs. More companies see .io and .co as viable alternatives, which leads to more users interacting with them. Growing the trust further, which again leads to more companies using them. Effecting the TLD “.co” to grow +79% from 212.000 registered domains in 2018 to 379.000 in 2020. A trend we don’t think will stop any time soon.

notion image

4. Bigger availability of brandable Domain names

Brandable names like “Google”, “Adidas” or “Kodak” start to get more and more in favour of picking known words. Can you imagine “Google” were named “Search-Better” or “Adidas” used “Sport-Clothes”? I think everyone can agree, that it would be harder for them to build a brand their size. Leading those examples many companies start to ditch the dictionary and go for memorable terms.


5. Younger demographics understand that the TLDs doesn’t correlate with the business integrity

Browsing the internet comes way more intuitive for younger demographics. They’ve learned all the ins and outs, including that TLDs don't correlate with the integrity of a business. Especially the tec-native audience completely trusts a brand based on their presence instead of judging by the TLD.


6. The Startups that build on “.io” and “.co” today, will be the face of tomorrows internet

While back in 2017 only 3 “.io” websites were in the top-visited 10.000 Websites - in 2021 it’s 58 in the top 10.000. But leading the race currently is “.co” going from 16 to 87 in the top 10.000. All that while than 20x more “.com” than ".co" & ".io" domains were registered at the same time. But those Startups are often way better at understanding the current trends and what provides value.

notion image

7. The domains are way cheaper than .com domains, making it a viable option for lower budget projects

The market of the alternative TLDs is still significantly smaller than the “.com” market. Making it way cheaper than comparable “.com” domains. This is why we can sell Names like “gray.so” for 249 $ while “gray.com” would easily cost between 3.000-10.000 $. Which also makes it the right time to buy them before the market gets overpopulated.


8. “.io” and “.co” are especially liked in the start-up and tec-scene

The popularity of these TLDs is on the rise because they have an inherent meaning that makes them stand out from others. For example, "io" stands for input/output while "co" means company or community.


9. Alternative TLDs allow for a creative branding

A lot of people took the opportunity to create creative URLs that aren’t possible with “.com”. Just take a look at those creative URLs “www.scenar.io”, “www.mar.io”, “pistach.io”. “Agar.io” is one of the names that found great success in marketing their whole URL as their name.


10. Google has confirmed that those TLDs are equal in search rankings

Google has confirmed that using alternative TLDs has no direct negative effect on the search performance of websites. Meaning you can rank equally as high as every “.com” domain out there without having to pay upwards of 2.000 $ for excellent domains.