Dot-Design Killed the Dot-Com-io Star

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How a Scrappy PDX Crew Earned Rights to the Internet’s Future

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the policy making organization that oversees the global Internet domain system, recently opened a program to bring hundreds of new domain extensions to the Internet. Domain extensions, or top-level domains, include the well-known options like .com, .org and .edu. Without many options, it was the .com domain that grew and grew. That, however, has changed. Through the new ICANN program, the Internet went from having too few top-level domains to having options so niche that you can now host your site on a .pizza or .furniture.

Portland company Top Level Design went toe to toe with many applicants and came out as the exclusive registry operator for three new extensions: .wiki, .ink and .design.

The application for .wiki was a natural for CEO Ray King since many of his companies were built on or utilized wiki technology. The wiki technology itself has its foundations here in the Northwest, with wiki inventor Ward Cunningham being a Portlander. The interest in .ink arose from the West Coast interest in writing, blogging and – of course – tattoos! The extension .design is the company’s largest success, having become one of the most widely used and visible extensions of the entire new ICANN program.

.Design for a Design Culture

The introduction of the .design domain happened at a great time. The world’s most successful companies are those that prioritize their product and UX design and consumers have come to expect products that are intuitive, efficient and stylish. Good design is a way of life now. Portland is an ideal base for the .design domain, given its maker community and the dense collocation of designers of all types from UX and graphic to interior and fashion. Many Portlanders may not even realize that by using .design they are in fact shopping local. Examples of local designers leveraging .design include,,,, and

Perhaps more important for .design’s global visibility are the major brands that are using the domain to share their design department content, including:,,,,,, and These companies know that designers are prodigious content creators and consumers. By sharing content from their team, they are increasing their clout and reach in the wider design community. These applications of .design are also aimed at recruiting the next generation of design talent, with design departments given focused destinations to showcase their work in a way that would never be possible on main .com sites.

An Opportunity Knocks?

52 Limited is working with Top Level Design to make .design names more affordable to our communities. Click here (or go to and use the code LIMITED5) to get your own .design name for just $5. Next year’s renewal will be $35. What you do with it between now and then? Maybe priceless.