Glossary of Printing Terms:


A generic top-level domain gTLD used on the Internet’s Domain Name System.

It was one of the original top-level domains, established in January 1985, and has grown to be the largest TLD in use.

It is currently operated by VeriSign. It is consistently pronounced as a word, dot-com, and has entered the common language this way.

Although .com domains are officially intended to designate commercial entities (others such as government agencies or educational institutions have different top-level domains assigned to them), there has been no restriction on who can register .com domains since the mid-1990s.

The opening of the .com registry to the public coincided with the commercialization and popularization of the Internet, and .com quickly became the most common top-level domain for websites. Many companies which flourished in the period between 1997-2001 (the time known as the “dot-com bubble”) went so far as to incorporate .com into the company name; these became known as dot-coms or dot-com companies.

This naming practice has reduced in frequency since 2001, however, due to a backlash against this boom and its subsequent bust

The introduction of .biz in 2001, which is restricted to businesses, has had little impact on the popularity of .com.

Although companies anywhere in the world can register .com domains, many countries have a second-level domain with a similar purpose under their own ccTLD.

Such second-level domains are usually of the form .com.xx or .co.xx, where xx is the ccTLD. Brazil (, Japan (, New Zealand (, India (, the People’s Republic of China (, and the United Kingdom ( are all examples.

Many noncommercial sites, such as those of nonprofit organizations or governments, use .com addresses.

Some consider this to be contrary to the domain’s original purpose and might say that a .org, .gov, or other more specific TLD might be more appropriate for such sites.

However, many organizations prefer the recognizability of a .com domain to a less familiar one.

As well, the original purposes of many of the top level domains have become irrelevant without restrictions on registrations.

Registrations are processed via registrars accredited by ICANN ; internationalized domain names are also accepted.

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