Now that we've all added Googling to our vocabularies, Google has announced a name for its restructured company that's another attention-getter. This time it is not just the word--Alphabet--that's interesting, but the url: .xyz.
Hitting on the perfect name for your company is a great moment that is often followed by the disappointment of seeing that it looks odd or is hard to remember as a domain name. And that's only if another company doesn't already own it.
There are new options. Actually, several hundred of them.
Instead of being limited to .com, .net or .org, entrepreneurs may be able to find suffixes—the part of a web address after the dot--that say more about what their company does. Or are simply more fun or interesting. Alphabet appears to be going with abc.xyz. Other options include .recipes, .bike, .photo and .farm, as well as .lawyer and .media and .financial. LionsGate, the film company behind The Hunger Games undefinedfranchise, recently launched TheHungerGames.movie.
Here's the background: The group that oversees domain names (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced it would expand access to suffixes a few years ago, and began taking applications from domain registry companies. Last year, it began releasing the domains. The company with the most top-level domains, Donuts, spent about $57 million to apply for 307 of them. It has 189 under contract and is in the process of rolling out more, says Jeff Davidoff, chief marketing officer at Donuts.
The average domain runs between $30 and $40, but some sought-after names can be much more. "Some of our more specific words, like .coffee, .clothing, .florist, .farm have a strong appeal because they fit the user's passion or business," says Davidoff. "Some of our more generic terms, like .business, .life, .company have a broader appeal."
One of the first things Soul Camp's founders thought when they heard they could now get their company's actual name as a domain soul.camp was how cool it would look on the T-shirts they distribute at their sleepaway camps for adults. Soul Camp's co-founders, Michelle Goldblum and Alison Leipzig, had already named their company and were using a dot-com url when they heard about the new domains at an industry event. Goldblum saw it as a good way to stand out. "I think it is a great marketing tool," she says. "In the world of branding, it is another little touch that sets you apart."
Anu Menon, co-founder of Driftaway Coffee, says one of the best things about their domain, driftaway.coffee, is how it kickstarts conversations. "We tell people we are on the coffee domain, and they haven't heard about it, and that starts a conversation and helps people remember us," she says.