A week ago, Google surprised the world by restructuring itself under the Alphabet umbrella. A key surprise was the simple fact that Google did not buy Alphabet.com, which BMW currently owns, and instead opted for the Alphabet.xyz top-level domain (TLD). The move is sparking a surge of interest in .xyz domain registration and could herald the coming out party for the new generic TLD market overall.
The .xyz domain is one of hundreds of new domains that entered the Internet under ICANN's generic TLD (gTLD) program. Google's decision to use an .xyz domain (https://abc.xyz/) came as a surprise to Daniel Negari, CEO of .xyz. However, he said his lawyers have advised him not to comment on Google's actions beyond that.
Regardless of the motivation for Google's .xyz use, it has been very good for .xyz's business. At the beginning of August, prior to Google's Alphabet announcement, there were 3,000 new .xyz domains registered every day, according to Negari. After Google's announcement, domain registrations per day have accelerated, with approximately 10,000 occurring on Aug. 14 alone, Negari said.
"Post Alphabet news, things are going crazy, and they are really booming," Negari told eWEEK. "We're getting registrations from all over the world, from companies and individuals alike."
From the outset, Negari said he has positioned the .xyz domain to be a domain for the next generation of Internet users and that the message is getting out in the market. With the Google launch of Alphabet.xyz , there is now some validation that a business can use a .xyz domain and be successful.
The Alphabet boost to the .xyz TLD is coming at a great time for the domain, which is currently going through its first major renewal cycle now, too, since many domain registrants will only register a domain for a single year. The .xyz domain is resold via domain registrar partners, including Network Solutions.
Negari explained that in 2014, Network Solutions gave away 375,000 .xyz domains for free, as part of a promotion. While some of those domains did renew, not all of them did, but Negari did not provide specific numbers as far as Network Solutions renewals.
One concern with domain registrations in a hot market is the potential risk of domain squatters that buy a domain to park it and then attempt to resell it. Domain squatters will often target high-value brand names as well as names that might be associated to brands. Negari said he is seeing strong utilization of .xyz domains and that there are policies in place to prevent squatting.
"We do a lot of abuse mitigation, and we have built tools to help mitigate online fraud and phishing," Negari said. "We also work closely with brands to make sure there is no abuse."
The .xyz registry also supports DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions), which provide a cryptographic layer for domain information integrity. While the top-level .xyz TLD is signed, individual domain holders need to sign their own domains as well to fully benefit from DNSSEC. DNSSEC is not yet widely deployed, and there are only approximately 500 signed domains for .xyz today, Negari said.
"I do think [DNSSEC] will be used more in the future, but the barrier to deployment is that it's so complicated," Negari said. "It's so complicated, I can barely figure it out, and I run .xyz."
Overall, the key to online growth is making things easier, which is something that .xyz is striving to do, Negari said.
"We're seeing new people get on the Internet, and they are gravitating toward all the new gTLDs, not just .xyz," Negari said. "Now with alphabet.xyz, gTLDs have gone mainstream."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.