Created in 1997, the .io ccTLD represents the British Indian Ocean Territory. Even though the territory is very small compared to others with their own domain extension, .io is among the most popular extensions in use today.
Startup companies, often limited by funding, tend to look for new ways to stand out with their brand. Since they can’t afford to buy a premium .com domain, .io domains provide a more affordable way to create a brand.
While .io domain names represent a lot of businesses and websites today, its popularity began with its use for popular online computer games. Games line Slither.io and Agar.io grew quickly in popularity as free multiplayer games hosted in a browser. As a result, users grew more comfortable and familiar with .io domain names. This ultimately lead to .io growing for other technology related uses, such as tech startups and programming websites.
Furthermore, the .io extension provides another branding opportunity with domain hacks. If a keyword or brand name ends with “io”, then a domain name can be registered using the .io ccTLD as part of the brand (think mar.io or b.io).
Buy .io Domains
.IO domains are relatively affordable compared to other ccTLDs, but not compared to generic extensions like .com and .net. Starting around $35 per year, .io registration and renewal costs provide a low-cost branding opportunity without being so cheap that spammy registrations take place.
Companies Using .io Domain Names
opensea.io – NFT marketplace
codepen.io – Online code editor
itch.io – Online browser games
greenhouse.io – Hiring platform
keybase.io – End-to-end encryption
curator.io – Social media aggregator