A colleague of mine recently mentioned that a client of theirs, a large software company, had heard about Google’s use of .XYZ to announce the formation of its new holding company, Alphabet, and is now concerned about whether they, too, should register in the same TLD.
While Google is a renowned trendsetter in the tech world, I pointed out that following the company’s suit isn’t necessarily the go-to strategy in this case.
Google (hereafter Alphabet) has obviously put some thought into the decision to use ABC.XYZ, and, before doing anything, others should as well. To start, consider the following three points.
Three Observations about ABC.XYZ
- Companies can get away with not owning all domain names containing key terms and marks.
Alphabet can, anyhow.
As news outlets have reported, BMW owns alphabet.com, while others own various Alphabet-related social media handles and domain names. Google owns none of them and, at least with alphabet.com, won’t be obtaining them anytime soon.
While some commentators have therefore suggested that registration of ABC.XYZ was done because the holding company’s name was not available for registration in the conventional choice of .COM, it seems more likely that the name was deliberately chosen for its pleasing syntactical symmetry, the humorous connection to the Silicon Valley TV show, and for the novelty of using a new gTLD—Alphabet-owned Charleston Road Registry was a major investor in the First Round of ICANN’s New gTLD Program, applying for 101 new gTLDs.
Why not use the opportunity to publicize multiple ventures at once?
- If brands want to make a big splash with a new initiative and do so in an innovative way with new gTLDs, the opportunity is there.
The .XYZ domain received a huge popularity boost thanks to Alphabet, and all it did was register in the domain and put up a simple landing page.
Clearly, a new gTLD can very quickly become popular and well-known if a big brand uses it. Within the first 48 hours of Google’s announcement, .XYZ had gained 20,000 new registrations; prior to the announcement, .XYZ had seen an average of 3,000 new registrations per day.
- With dozens of new gTLDs under its ownership, Alphabet may well use those custom extensions for its various projects.
Nobody knows how Alphabet will ultimately build out its online presence. The ABC.XYZ site serves as dedicated space for the new initiative’s announcement in the form of a letter from Google co-founder Larry Page; it does not amount to a particularly informative site for actual or would-be investors or other interested parties.
Perhaps the ABC.XYZ site will remain even as its subsidiaries use Alphabet’s new gTLDs for other uses: SEARCH.GOOGLE, for instance, would be logical. While .XYZ was a reasonable choice for announcing the creation of the new holding company, the TLD may very well be a poor choice for Alphabet’s projects; likewise, the TLD is unlikely to be useful for a large software company’s marketing initiatives, though defensive registration could be a legitimate motive.
.XYZ and new gTLDs
So, is Alphabet onto something with its registration of ABC.XYZ or is it just getting creative with a tongue-in-cheek online address?
All bets are off, but this is a great time to step back and reexamine how more abstract TLDs may be relevant to your business and, maybe, take a cue from Google and have some fun with this.
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