The Stories Behind .unicorn, .ninja, and Other Bizarre Domain Extensions

The human race doesn’t have flying cars, general AI, or moon bases yet, but at least we can make some questionable choices about our websites’ domain name extensions.

Do you frequently make passive-aggressive remarks? Let the world know with a “.fyi” domain. Do you wish people would sound more impressed when they say your business’s name? You’ll love the “.ooo” extension. Are you a ninja? No? Well, visitors to “yourname.ninja” don’t need to know that.

With over 1,500 unique domain extensions in existence, many of which are unbranded and open to the public, there’s no shortage of entertaining trivia about them.

weird-tlds-unicorn

Open to the public: no

In tech, a unicorn refers to a startup that is worth over a billion dollars. In the world of domain extensions, though, it refers to a branded extension applied for by Czech IT company Unicorn Systems. Unfortunately, the request never made it through, due to losing a fight with the similarly-named .unicom extension. Because it was branded (bought by a specific company), though, average unicorns probably wouldn’t have been able to get one. Their hooves make typing a nightmare anyway.

weird-tlds-alphabet

Open to the public: no

The name itself isn’t that strange — what’s weird is that even though Google’s parent company, Alphabet, seems like it owns the Internet, they can’t pry the .abc domain away from the American Broadcasting Company. Alphabet’s signature extension is .xyz instead. Even alphabet.com is off the table, as BMW owns it, and they’re not selling.

weird-tlds-blockbuster

Open to the public: no

The Dish Network TV company owns the now nearly-extinct Blockbuster brand and apparently thought it was worth a domain extension of its own. If you’re looking to give your website that “we were big in the 90s but now we’re obsolete and therefore out of business” feeling, you could try getting in touch with Dish, but there aren’t any public registration services right now.

weird-tlds-cancerresearch

Open to the public: no

Run by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, this is exactly what it claims to be: a network of websites about cancer research. They’re actually pretty well-designed, but you’re unlikely to be granted a domain, no matter how much you argue that your blog’s cute cat pictures are a valid cancer treatment.

weird-tlds-cool

Open to the public: yes

.cool is one of many interesting domains owned by the Donuts company, whose exclusive business is to create and run new top-level domains, betting that people will want some of them in the future. In the case of .cool, they are definitely right, because nothing says “cool” like the person who owns something telling you that it’s cool.

weird-tlds-ninja

Open to the public: yes

Though the official application did include a few martial arts examples, its stated purpose is for experts to use the extension as a signal that they have a high level of expertise in something, such as “HTML Ninja.” And yes, it is partially managed by Donuts.

weird-tlds-sucks-gripe

Open to the public: yes

These two domains exist basically for one purpose: to complain about stuff. The main markets for these sorts of domains, though, are companies and people who don’t want to be targets ([insertnamehere].sucks!), which has made them fairly contentious.

If you’re Apple, though, you don’t want “apple.sucks” to be a thing. If you’re a celebrity, you probably want to go ahead and snap up the “.porn,” “.xxx,” and other sketchy domain names — though you’ll have to pay the domain owner for these “defensive registrations.” Though this has yet to become a massive problem, “domain extortion,” or forcing people to pay to avoid potential bad PR, is a real problem.

weird-tlds-education

Open to the public: Yes, yes, no

Not a real school, but want to seem like you are? Get a .degree or a .university domain extension! Though there could theoretically be some real uses for these, especially as online education is increasingly popular, trusting a site like [onlineschool].degree might actually be failing your first test.

weird-tlds-dating

Open to the public: Yes

Because there aren’t enough shady websites lurking in random banner ads. There’s a chance that some of these will take off as legitimate extensions, but a much higher chance that “hotsexysingles.com” will become “hotsexy.singles.” During the application process, most of these domain extensions were flagged as being high risk for potential misuse, but they made it through anyway.

weird-tlds-no-idea

Open to the public: yes

It’s a good thing these extensions made the list. I’ve been wondering where all the online websites were. The .website extension actually found itself in conflict with the country code for Samoa, .ws. The tiny island nation actually makes a fairly decent income off of people using the .ws domain as shorthand for “website,” and tried to block the .website extension from getting off the ground.

.bible, .catholic, .church, .family, .faith

Welcome to the most wholesome part of the Internet, where nobody will take advantage of these domain extensions for any unsavory reasons whatsoever.

.law, .lawyer, .doctor, .loan, .loans

What you don’t get here: legitimate legal, medical, or financial services. What you do get here: your legs broken, then set by the doctor. But he’ll break them again if you don’t pay.

.wtf, .lol, .meme

Everyone here is twelve years old pretending to be thirty.

.secure, .security, .safe, .safety

There is a very high chance that these words will not describe the websites that use them as extensions.

The ICANN website has all currently available domain extensions listed, and if you want to find out more about any of them in particular, the ICANN Wiki has excellent, occasionally hilarious, summaries available. All these new domains are still in their very early days, so if you want to become an early adopter and snap up “yourname.website,” or even better, “yourname.sucks,” there’s no time like the present.

Image credit: Nick Youngson via The Blue Diamond Gallery

One comment

  1. “.bible, .catholic, .church, .family, .faith”
    It would be ironic if scammers, grifters and porno purveyors started usingf these extension.

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