First, consider the fact that with so many dot coms already spoken for, it is far more likely that you will be able to find the name you want as a dot net, org, biz, or info. And although it is arguable that in the minds of most net surfers dot com is king, the walls are coming down in that respect also. In fact, when was the last time you searched for something through Google or Yahoo, and upon finding the results and clicking to go to a website, did you really pay attention to the extension of the domain name? Most people don't surf the web by typing in memorized domain names.
Dot net is generally the second choice after dot com for most buyers of domain names. But that is changing as well. Dot org, originally the extension for non-profit and government websites, is now available for all, even commercial sites. And it gives off a more social, more community oriented connotation. Dot biz, while open to all, actually gives a professional sound to a domain name, leaving little doubt that commercial interests are involved. Dot info, again open to all comers, gives the impression that the user will find waiting for them a site rich with content and pertinent information.
Many savvy web builders these days will lock down not only a dot com domain name, but every other available extension along with it as well. When you purchase mygreatgizmo.com, and then also buy the same domain name with the dot net, info, biz, org, etc., you are performing a preemptive strike against the competition, a hedge against someone capitalizing on your good domain name in the future. And you are able to point as many domain names to a single website as you wish.
The bottom line here is that there is good reason to consider other extensions in addition to dot com. With the vast majority of web surfers using search engines to find websites, coupled with the fact that dot net dot org dot info dot biz extensions are more and more recognized and accepted, going forward there is no reason to limit yourself to only dot com domain names.
A couple of final thoughts: consider country specific domain names if doing business only in your home country. Dot US for the United States, dot EU for Europe, dot CA for Canada, dot UK for United Kingdom (dot co uk is most popular) as well as the New Zealand nz domain name. And coming on strong in the last year is dot MOBI domain names, the only domain name for mobile devices. The land rush is on for this extension, and dot MOBI domain names will be discussed in a future article.