Re: as an alternative to '.local'
Post RFC6762 it's officially reserved for mDNS. Wheee.
And if you actually read that RFC:
Multicast DNS designates a portion of the DNS namespace to be free for local use, without the need to pay any annual fee, and without the need to set up delegations or otherwise configure a conventional DNS server to answer for those names.
In other words .local is exactly what it should be and anybody can use it for their local network. Nobody's going to come round to verify you're actually running mDNS rather than having a DNS .local domain or just putting the addresses in your host file.