A “dot-com company,” often referred to simply as a “dot-com,” is a business that primarily conducts its operations on the Internet, typically through a website with the widely recognized “.com” domain extension. As of 2021, “.com” is the most commonly used top-level domain (TLD), accounting for nearly half of all domain registrations.
The “.com” suffix in a website’s URL typically indicates a commercial or for-profit entity, as opposed to non-commercial or nonprofit organizations, which commonly use the “.org” domain extension. This nomenclature originated from the word “commercial,” as it signifies the primary commercial use of these domains. Notably, even when “.com” companies offer physical products, their services are often delivered through web-based mechanisms. However, some “.com” companies exclusively provide digital services and products without any physical counterparts.
Historically, during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the NASDAQ Composite index saw a significant increase in valuation, followed by a sharp decline when the bubble burst. The “.com” top-level domain was one of the first seven domains established on the internet in 1985, initially controlled by the United States Department of Defense but later transferred to the National Science Foundation for non-defense-related purposes.
The rise of online commerce and the World Wide Web in the early 1990s led to the creation of numerous websites for selling products, including pioneers like Amazon.com and eBay. Despite substantial growth in revenue, many of these early internet companies were not profitable. The dot-com bubble burst around 2000, resulting in a stock market crash and the failure of numerous dot-com companies. Some surviving firms dropped the “.com” suffix from their names.
In summary, a dot-com company is a business primarily operating on the internet with a “.com” domain extension. It gained prominence during the dot-com bubble but faced challenges and changes in the aftermath of the bubble’s burst.