Here’s a good example of thinking beyond .com.
Whisper, according to an effusive TechCrunch post, is “the latest social app to capture the attention of a huge — and growing — audience of users, as well as the attention of a group of investors.” Like PostSecret (founded in 2005), the Whisper app encourages users to share secrets anonymously; Whisper’s twist is that users can communicate with each other in public or private. There’s also a do-good angle: Whisper is connected with Your Voice, “a non-profit organization … dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues on college campuses.”
I like the Whisper name, with its suggestion of secrecy and its long etymological history going back to Old English. (I’m less enthusiastic about the tagline, “Your Secret Public.” My public is a secret? Publicize my secret? I’m confused.) Whisper.com was, of course, unavailable – it redirects to the job-search site Monster.com – and so were modified domains like WhisperIt, WhisperNow, and GetWhisper. But that didn’t stop the company’s founders. They skipped over the .com choices and picked .sh, the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) of Saint Helena.
It’s perfect. After all, how better to reinforce “Whisper” and “secrecy” than with a whispered “sh”?
In case you’re wondering, Saint Helena is a speck of land in the South Atlantic Ocean. One of the most isolated islands in the world, it’s part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha. You may remember it as the island to which Napoleon I was exiled in 1815.
Well played, Whisper.sh. Let this be a reminder to other entrepreneurs that – as I wrote back in 2010 – “there’s a world of alternatives out there” if you’re open to jettisoning dot-com in favor of a creative substitute.