The status of internet domain names is ranked according to which domains have the best chance of being searched for by both casual and serious viewers.
That is why .coms, .nets and .orgs (the three most searched-for domain name levels, in respective order of popularity) outrank lesser ones such as .biz, .info and .ws, etc.
Different domain name attachments are launched every few years, such as the recent .tv, however nothing will ever replace the above-mentioned "big three" in the minds of a .com-trained public that has been using the web since it first began gaining wide acceptance in 1995.
As to rankings among the big three, therefore, domain levels can easily take on a poker hand-like appearance when compared to one another:
A .com beats a .net, and a .net likewise beats a .org, but there are exceptions. If, for instance, a .com is using the name "Mel Gibson," but the actual site turns out to be a shoe repair shop run by someone named Mel, then the .net that is actually about movie star Mel Gibson is the #1 ranked TLD.
Not that wrong or misleading content is the only factor to eliminate a domain from competition. A site about a famous person, for example, that is merely "parked" (i.e. purchased but never used), and often for years at a time, will always compare very badly to a TLD site that is relevant as to subject matter and which remains active and up to date.
That covers the basics of TLD rankings. What now follows is a brief overview that features an expanded rundown of the main ways in which lesser positioned sites can often upstage those that should actually be their superiors.
Most ranking failures of .coms that have occurred over the years usually fall into three main categories:
1) Parking Speculators
2) Overprotective Agents
3) Greedy Search Engines
1) Parking Speculators: These types are vultures who swoop down on domain names of famous people they care nothing about, in hopes of selling them like one would trade real estate. Many foreigners glom onto such sites, knowing nothing about the stars except that they are stars. Aside from the fact that these sites are often empty (if they're on the web at all), you can also identify them by the fact that they are "parked" for years at the original registrar they were purchased from.
They may be with or without a "for sale" sign, but a present day tell-tale Whois.com search yields important sales information such as the site being purchased ("created") in 1997. Do not be fooled by any "under construction" or "coming soon" claims on these, either - if there is nothing on the site when you search for it over five years later, this indicates a bona-fide permanent parker (aka a cyber squatter).
2) Overprotective Agents: These types are either paranoids who actually represent the people whose domain names they're buying, or they wish to represent them in the future. The legitimate agents are overreacting, but at least their belief that they are "saving their client's name from turning into an adult site" makes at least some sense. However, if that was the case, why won't they be a good agent and put something promotional on there about their client, rather than leaving it empty?
In contrast, the wannabe agents, who probably make up the majority of these types, are in deep denial about their situation, one that results in a blackmail style standoff between themselves and the celebrities they wish to do business with - which has left the .com of many stars in limbo for years.
3) Greedy Search Engines: These types are often the most insulting, because they have been grabbed up and used by a seperate company than those representing - or wanting to represent - the famous people whose names they employ.
They merely cash in on the famous names by tricking web surfers into clicking on their search engine sites, which are loaded with sales links. Most surfers do not bite on them, but many do.