NEW YORK, NY – It’s now been near two years from when Google’s new parent company Alphabet Inc. decided to launch their new corporate website on the .xyz domain, naming it abc.xyz. It’s also been near two years from when .xyz founder Daniel Negari forecasted that Google’s surprising move would effectively end .Com dominance worldwide. Not much has happened.
Aside from the 5.2 million .xyz domain names registered, according to NameStat, it has done nothing but decline since March 2017, down from 6,159,688 domains registered to where it is today (NameStat Total Domains 5,206,599) (-15.46%). Although 5 million .xyz domains registered might seem like a lot, and it is the most out of all the new gTLDs, when compared to .com, which has over 129,000,000 domains registered, it’s at only a very small fraction (about 4% of the .com registrations) and three times less than active .net registrations which are at 15,103,299. Not to mention, according to nTLDStats.com, over 4 million of them are parked.
So why has the .xyz domain driven so many more registrations than all other gTLDs?
I always thought it was a very strange URL, from day one, and I too was shocked when Google announced it would be using it for their new website. Even Ben Crawford chief executive of London-based CentralNIC, was “amazed” when he woke up and heard the news. CentralNic is the company with an exclusive deal to market and manage the .xyz web domain on behalf of its owner Negari. CentralNIC receives a share of the revenues whenever someone registers a .xyz domain and you can imagine they would be highly motivated to be very vocal about the future of .xyz domains. They also represent many other gTLDs as well.
End Looms for Dot.Com Era, by CentralNic. Thousands of new web domain names will soon to be available. ICAAN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) owns about 20 percent of these new domains and will reveal the firms that have applied for them this Wednesday. CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford joined CNBC to discuss.
Looking at .xyz sales and promotions, there has been a lot of them. On November 17, 2014 NiceNic.net was selling .xyz domains for $2.00 per year. On June 28th 2015 Moniker was selling them for $1.00. On November 22, 2016 .xyz went on sale with Moniker for 0.25 cents and Uniregistry was selling them for just 0.01 cent earlier that year. But it gets even better; .xyz also ran at least one sale giving them away totally free, for zilch, nada, (automatically pushing them into accounts) as long as it would match a current owners’ already registered .com domain with hopes owners would renew them. This was done though Network Solutions in 2014 and there was a great deal of blow-back about it.
No wonder why there is so many registered; hundreds of thousands of them have been given away free, or near free.
Is that measurable success? Is it Zone stuffing? It for sure can’t be a good measure of genuine consumer desire to own and utilize the domain. Even with Google using .xyz, two years later, and three years after general availability, it’s still not in wide use, if you ask me (.net is far more popular, not to mention the resale market of .net domains seems to be in the shitter, and declining).
.xyz domain helping to drive growth at CentralNic. The chief executive of domain name specialist CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC), Ben Crawford, tells Proactive that the .xyz domain has been a revelation and helped the company to drive up revenues and profits in the first half of 2016.
But I too have registered a .xyz domain name. I’ve even got one of those cool .xyz t-shirts somewhere which I picked up at a domain conference. Yep, on February 14th 2016, I jumped on the .xyz domain band-wagon and registered a name I hold a trademark for, just in case. It wasn’t a large investment as I only paid $1.17 for it at Godaddy, and I can tell you right now, if Google were not using it, I never would have registered even that one.
To my surprise I still have it sitting in my account (I thought I had let it expire, but it looks like I paid additional 10.21 to transfer and renew it). So, at the end of the day, it appears I too represent a tiny fraction of those 5.2 million who have spent money on them. (NtldStates shows 5,655,965 yet it is still declining [could be just temporary]).
My point is that the domain name, weird as it seems, is popular. Google’s using it, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of them are being given away free or near free (still 0.99 cents at Godaddy), however, there is still a very small fraction of them being used in comparison to .com names. And I bet the majority of those who have purchased them are domain name enthusiasts or investors – meaning I do not see .xyz domains, or any new gTLD domains for that matter, as making a significant impact on the .com domain. But again, that is the question: Has the internet outgrown .com?
Has the internet outgrown .com?. CentralNic CEO, Ben Crawford, discusses the inevitability and benefits of .brand TLDs.
Below are the 10 highest .xyz domain sales recorded at NameBio (all-time).
Below are the 10 highest .xyz domain sales recorded at NameBio (This year up to June, 29 2017).
Notably, the recent sales are a heck of a lot less valued then earlier years and none of the above .xyz domain names are being used for anything. None of the all-time highest domains sold, and none of the top sales from this year (2017). In fact, most .xyz domains I try to visit are either parked, do not resolve, or are redirecting back to the registry.
What I find as an interesting remaining question is how long will these domain names be able to be sold at the point of registration for so little and have the registry remain profitable. How are they even profitable now?
If you know of any .xyz domain names that appear in use for legitimate service companies (not owned by domain investors or speculators) feel free to highlight them in the comments below. And not Google/Alphabet.
I’m talking about a general type of business who has the ordinary challenge of self-promotion, marketing, branding etc… I would like to see some general businesses in the United States who have chosen to build their future on an .xyz domain name. Google/Alphabet does not face these challenges.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®