.ai Domain (Meaning, Price, Popularity, Use Cases)
You are probably disappointed because you can’t find an available and good .com domain. You start to check for alternatives and you see .ai as one of them but you are not sure how good it is.
I will explain everything you need to know about the .ai domain and I hope that I will make your decision easier.
What Does .ai Mean (+ Brief History)?
Typically, .ai is the country code top-level domain for Anguilla which is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory. This domain extension was launched back in 1995. Originally was available only for the residents of this small island.
In 2009 the registration opened to anyone in the world. There is a possible reason that led to this decision. Artificial intelligence in the 2000s was growing and some use cases of this technology had applications in real life. Some examples were speech recognition software or mini-robots. So, the potential for a growing sector it was viable.
The .ai domain fits perfectly in that case. You can easily refer to .ai as “artificial intelligence” even if this wasn’t the original meaning. The additional advantage was that many more good keyword domains were available compared to .com.
This is the site of the .ai registry : http://nic.com.ai/ . The registry is the organization that runs a domain extension and gets a wholesale fee for any registration.
How Do I Get An .ai domain?
Most of the popular domain name registrars offer their users the option to register a .ai domain. I have created a small table so you can visually compare the prices.
Unfortunately, the initial registration of .ai is expensive compared with other extensions (.com included). The upside is that you can find premium domains (with commercial keywords) in better prices compared to .com.
|Registrar||.ai Registration||.ai Renewal|
*The minimum registration for a .ai domain is 2 years. So whatever you see in the table multiply with 2.
Why Are .ai Domains So Expensive?
The main reason that .ai domains are expensive is the fee that the registry (nic.com.ai/) charges. They collect this amount for any registration that happens around the world from any company.
Here what we read on their site:
Anguilla domains of “.ai”, “off.ai”, “com.ai”, “net.ai”, and “org.ai” can be registered by anyone. The cost is $100 every 2 years.http://nic.com.ai/
The domain registrars add some dollars for their profit and we have the final prices as you see in the previous paragraph.
Are .ai Domains Good?
You probably are worried if a .ai domain can rank as well as a .com domain on google rankings? The clear answer is yes. Google has stated that a domain name extension doesn’t give an advantage itself. They will face the same a .com, .net or .ai domain name.
Despite saying that, a specific country code top-level domain provides a small advantage for local users searches. For example, a .fr domain has a tiny advantage against a .com for France-based online users especially if they search with French terms.
Google evaluates more than 200+ factors to rank websites. Some important ones are the site’s content quality, site’s speed, and links from reputable sources. You can learn more in this blog post from Backlinko if you are really interested backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors .
You can also check google’s site itself to find out more how their algorithm works: google.com/search/howsearchworks/algorithms/
Another concern you might have is how google treats country code top-level domains when it comes to international audiences. .ai belongs to a certain special category where Google treats it such as .com or .net. Since they noticed that some country-specific domains are used for global audiences instead of local ones.
Here is what Google mentions in their support page:
Generic Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs): Google treats some ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we’ve found that users and webmasters frequently see these more generic than country-targeted.support.google.com/
*Typically .ai seems to be not in the list but considering how Google faces this kind of (TLDs), we can safely assume that Google treats it the same way.
.com Or .ai Or Something Else?
So, .ai seems to have a very specific use case. Technology companies that incorporate artificial intelligence for their products/services. Let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a .ai domain.
1.) Shorter than .com that leads to shorter and memorable URLs. Since shorter keywords are more available compared to .com that contributes too in the overall length.
2.) They are associated easily with your business main offer (AI).
3.) Better prices compared to .com for the premium domains. For example, insurance.ai would be always cheaper than insurance.com
1.) People will add .com instead of .ai if they just hear your brand’s name.
2.) Although premium .ai domains are cheaper compared to .com domains if you try to register new available domains you will pay at least $100 for 2 years. For .com the price is around $8 – $14 per year for an available domain.
3.) A .com version with the same keyword and within the same industry can get a portion of your traffic.
I have created a table that will help you to decide what you should do in each case.
|A big brand uses the same .com within the same industry||Yes||No|
|You are a startup strictly related to AI||Yes||Yes|
|You don’t rely on word of mouth marketing||Yes||Yes|
|Your audience is tech-savvy||Yes||Yes|
|You have a decent budget for a domain purchase (+5000$)||Yes||No|
|Your audience is the average user||Yes||No|
*I choose “yes” to .com for each different case since I rarely believe a .com is a bad option. On the other hand, I choose “yes” to .ai too when I see it as a viable option.
If you want to find out more for some other alternative extensions such as .co, .io or .me you can check the next posts:
Companies With .ai Domain
I am providing you a list of companies with successful .ai websites so you can see who uses it in the real world.
Here is also a list from namebio.com with the top 20 sales of .ai domains:
I hope that i helped you to make a decision for the domain that you will use for your website. My personal preference is always to go for .com but i see why some other people seek for alternatives. Please share the post on social media, it would be a huge help for me!