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Where Do Two-Letter Domain Extensions Come From?

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Do you ever wonder where domain extensions come from? When you see a website using a .tv or a .me domain, do you have any idea what those domains actually mean?

You might be surprised to learn that these two-letter domains actually “belong” to countries and territories, but they’re available for anyone to use.

Below we’ll look at the origin of these domains and how you can get one for your own website.

Where Two-Letter Domains Come From

Most countries have been assigned a two-letter domain extension, or top-level domain (TLD), that matches their country code. The United States has .us, Canada has .ca, and Germany has .de.

.Me is actually the country domain name for Montenegro, .Co is for Colombia and .TV is for the tiny island nation of Tuvalu.

Each of these countries had decided to commercialize their domain names and open them up to the world.

Because of their popularity outside of the represented countries, Google treats these domains as “generic.” This means the search giant doesn’t assume that websites built on these domain names are targeted to the countries. (Google treats 19 country domain names this way, and provides an up-to-date list).

If you’re curious about all of the available TLDs and who “owns” the rights to them, visit the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority website for a comprehensive list of all extensions.
TLD logos

Fun Ways to Use Two-Letter Domains

Some of these two-letter domain extensions have clever alternative uses because they have an additional meaning beyond their country of origin.
For example, you can use the .me extension to express an action, like the site Join.me. They’re also great for personal branding on blogs or celebrity sites.

The abbreviation ‘co’ is short for ‘company’. That makes the .co domain a compelling alternative to .com for companies. It’s also very popular with startups.

If you’re running a video website or a fan site for a television program, why not register the .tv extension?

Getting Started with Two-Letter Domains

Here are some country domain extensions with innovative uses that you can register at Namecheap:

.ME (Montenegro) – Personal branding or action domains

.CO (Colombia) – Startups and a great generic domain for “company”

.TV (Tuvalu) – Video sites

.IO (British Indian Ocean Territory) – Popular with tech startups

.WS (Somoa) – A generic domain that can be short for “website”

Ready to Get Started?

Review a list of all generic two-letter domain extensions available on Namecheap and check to see if your domain is available!

Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.
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Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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