Will Google launching abc.xyz open the floodgates to non-dot-coms becoming really common?

We recently published episode 12 of our This Week In Organic show, looking into:

  • Will app content optimization become an essential part of SEO?
  • What’s the future of YouTube now that it’s part of a smaller Google?
  • Is Pinterest a social media platform or an e-commerce opportunity?
  • Are these the 7 Social Media Platforms That Could Explode Before 2016?

Today we’re zeroing in on one of the topics discussed in the episode: Will Google launching abc.xyz open the floodgates to non-dot-coms becoming really common?

Jump straight this topic in the video below:


LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Google announced it’s creating a new holding company called Alphabet and moving much of its creative and development business to the new company, leaving Google with its original search business.

The domain name for the business is abc.wtf, which I believe someone said Microsoft have registered. So I’m not sure what the wtf stands for, anyway! But the first question, will this open the floodgates to not.coms and non.coms becoming really common? Who wants to jump in first on that?

ANDREW SHOTLAND: Well the answer is maybe. I don’t see why it would other than maybe so people might go, ‘Oh, Google’s got one of these. Why don’t we?’ I think the whole alternate domain name stuff is like, ‘Who cares?’ Honestly. I don’t think it’s significant in the near-term at least for web properties or internet properties.

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay. Anyone else want to chime in on that with a different opinion or do you think local businesses will be calling up their SEO agencies saying, ‘Hey, Google’s got an xyz, should we have an xyz?’

ANDREW SHOTLAND: Definitely not local businesses.


REBECCA LIEB: But on the other hand, local businesses are going to want to perhaps own their locality, so the nyc domain where I live here in New York is doing pretty well. But I think that’s more about reserving a domain so that someone doesn’t take it over and you don’t have to deal with those concerns than it is for real branding, because if you are burrito.com, you don’t need to be burrito.xyz or any other kind of suffix. You’re going to show up in results presumably for that .com because you’ve invested in it. Probably the first domain you bought is the primary domain and I think .com and secondarily .net are going to be the primary domains for a good long while in terms of landing and it’s the way that consumers are trained to think about the web.

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay, so if I came to you, if I was a small business starting up, I don’t know, a local deli or something just down the road here in Twickenham and I decided I’d come up with a good name, what would your advice be to me about domain name strategy? Let’s say that someone’s beaten me to the .com. What would your advice be?

REBECCA LIEB: .net, .uk before you started looking at .twickenham, which I’m not sure exists yet!

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: I’m not sure! It’s certainly quite long to type, that’s for sure! Any advice from you guys, Bill, Andrew?

BILL HUNT: Well I think looking at how people might think of you, so I see some people in the US will put LLC because the name is missing. If you’re talking about a sandwich shop, can you put something like that in there? And I think what are they going to use it for? And I think it ties into a couple of the other conversations and exactly as Rebecca said around your content strategy. What do want the website to do for you? And that brings up a great point. I mean, that was one of the things Google was mocked for, is they didn’t check to see if alphabet.com was available and things like that. So I think those are things we need to look at. I mean, I’ve seen big brands actually go to .brand name. And I’m just waiting for some of them to let their .com domains expire because they’re moving everything over to the .brand.

So I think there’s some issues and I think if you look at it, if you’re a small business, what makes sense? How might people think of you if you can’t get the .com? And I think as Rebecca said, are more people, especially in the UK case, thinking something might actually be a .co.uk or some other appropriate country-level domain?

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay. So I suppose the honest answer to this, whether you’re a big business or a small business, is no one size fits all. It really does depend on where you are as a business, what your branding and corporate and content marketing strategy is, and of course what’s available.

REBECCA LIEB: One more. This might be stating the obvious, but if you’re searching in UK, you’re going to be shunted by Google to that .co.uk suffix, so looking at the locality of the place where people are most likely to search for you is obviously good.

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Sure. Okay. Well it will be interesting to see. I can’t believe Google didn’t check alphabet.com was available. Maybe they just don’t care and are more concerned about the companies they’ve got below the umbrella. It’s a bit like having a holding company here. It’s alright registering at Companies House and that’s what it’s used for. So maybe they’re more concerned about the major brands and businesses they’re building under it. I’m sure someone would have done their homework there. I’m sure they’ve got more lawyers than most of us have got people in our company.

ANDREW SHOTLAND: I think they’re rank okay for Alphabet!

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: You don’t think they’ll start ranking search results alphabetically, do you?!


LAURENCE O’TOOLE: And certainly coming from a directory background, I…

ANDREW SHOTLAND: That would be a really great sort option!

LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Yeah, well certainly from a directory perspective on branding, I used to work in the Yellow Pages industry here in the UK and you would see businesses change their names to be AAA Taxis or #1AAA Taxis or Aardvark Consulting just to get to the top of the list, so people get to the top of the list whether it’s search engine rankings or director listings. It’s ben around for hundreds of years.

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