I am often surprised how incredible hard it is to get a great .com TLD. It’s not that one lacks of inspiration. It’s more that the whole business of “domain reselling” seems to keep 99% of all available character combinations. Even niche domains or fantasy names without a meaning may cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. I asked a few times for such an offer. I didn’t buy the name, but realized I have a new “friend” who contacts me regularly. Domain traders seem to think I might change my mind if they e-mail me once a week (they are wrong).
I was looking for TLD alternatives and found two great options.
One is the .sh ending, served by Nic.sh. I like it very much as .sh remembers me on the Unix Shell. Actually it is a country tld from The Island of Saint Helena. An island I never heard about before. An island where I didn’t expect humans.
I was looking further and found the .io domain. This one is served by Nic.io. Nic.io and Nic.sh are both websites from ICB plc, UK.. .io is the country code of the British Indian Ocean Territory. For me it simply has a different meaning: I/O, the most famos “Input/Output”.
Some of my friends where looking with big eyes at me when I told them I am getting an .io domain. It seems not so many people (except us computer people) can map the .io domain to Input/Output. I had to tell them what I/O means and why it matters. Not sure if they understood what I explained, but my friends smiled, nodded and promised they would look at the site when it’s ready. Fair enough.
.com is unbeaten for non-tech people. But there are a lot of cool projects, commercial and open source, focussing on the more technical side of life, which are using .io:
- redis.io - an open source key-value store which is pretty popular, as my Twitter feeds tell me.
- chirp.io – This is a very cool project: you can share data across mobiles with acoustic signals. Yes, like in the 80ties. It lets your mobile “sing”. Not sure if it will change the world, but I enjoyed the read.
- netty.io - an open source asynchronous event-driven application framework. This is really a great product and lets you… write data from A to B. Guess only Geeks can be excited on that.
- spacebox.io - a wrapper around Stripe, which lets you process payments. It is more easy to integrate than Stripe is.
- rvm.io - this webpage really saved my ass recently. It all around the Ruby Version Manager, which lets you switch so easy between different Ruby versions on your box. I wish other languages would have something like that.
Of course, there are a lot more projects which should be listed here. Actually most .io domains I have seen so far were somehow connected to a technical topic. It leads me to the conclusion that more people are thinking of .io as “Input/Output”. For me, .io domains are not longer extraordinary. My guess is a good couple of other technical projects will grab their .io domain soon.
And while we are at it… I got my own domain from there too! The whole process was very smooth, even when I don’t like the nic.io websites so much. They are a bit… oldschool. But that aside, I am very happy with it. I got the domain before a couple of weeks and didn’t have any problems with it. The domain name is:
And yeah, I totally love it!! If you want to know what I am doing there, just subscribe the mailing list.
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