Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week (and if you were living under a rock, I would imagine Internet is hard to come by there), you already know about Alphabet, Google’s new parent company.
Shortly after the new launch, reports are that consumers went flocking to Alphabet.com to read learn more about the umbrella company, and they were met with a BMW owned Fleet Service, ironically named, Alphabet.
Commence widespread panic, Google bashing, domain squatters, and the like throwing around opinions on how short-sided the name choice was, and how could they imagine choosing this name without buying the .com TLD first, let alone the Twitter handle…. The HORROR!!
Why Alphabet.com doesn’t matter:
The truth is that owning Alphabet.com doesn’t matter to Google, as the .com real estate grab is just the dated and archaic type of thinking that Larry dispels in the announcing blog post/press release.
“We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.” – Page
The expansion of gTLDs has been widespread as you can now purchase .cool, .ninja, .io, .pub,and a countless number of other iterations, including the now famous .xyz, in which Google chose to give Alphabet its home on the web.
In late 2014, Google entered the game and launched nic.google, which redirected to their gTLD registry page. Subsequently, Google is now in the business of selling gTLDs and with that being said, why wouldn’t they look to make a splash on a gTLD that is NOT .com? What better way to move forward from the fossilized thinking of the .com movement, then to ignore that gTLD altogether.
Product launches are in Google’s DNA. From wickedly unsuccessful launches (G+, Wave, Orkut, etc.) to a myriad of tremendously successful launches (Hangouts), Google routinely gets product launches right. So now that they are creating a NEW PARENT COMPANY, who will own the entire mothership, which allows them to fund projects to make self driving cars, now is the time they will be so shortsided that they overlook the need to buy Alphabet.com? We would be naive to think that the senior leaders are Google/Alphabet didn’t think of the unavailability of Alphabet.com when they were kicking around names internally. We would be EXTREMELY naive, given the fact they ummm SELL gTLDs and knew that BMW had it for some time. Conversations would have been had with BMW and Alphabet would have known that the .com property wouldn’t be available.
The Dissolving of gTLD Importance:
The perceived allure of .com has eroded. Gone are the days that if you owned a .com for a prominent brand, that you could sell it for thousands and retire to Fiji. Google themselves has already made public that they treat all gTLDs the same (except for the .gov and other handpicked, coveted TLDs, even though they won’t admit that), so the necessity to purchase the .com for some sort of real estate buying endeavor, is short-sided and dated thinking.
The Branded Organic Search Effect:
Another reason why the .com and other gTLDs lack importance in today’s search landscape is the increased instance of branded organic searches. I have the luxury of reviewing over 80 different Analytics and Search Console data each month, and if you see data like I see data, you see a relatively large influx of branded searches contributing organic traffic. Additionally, use a tool like SEMrush or SPYfu and you will see these are some of the strongest organic traffic drivers for many sites. Consumers aren’t really that interested in whether you are a .com, .net, .eat, .foo, or whatever you want. They understand your brand and look to connect with you there.
The Voice Search Effect:
Voice Search adds a whole other factor to the erosion of gTLD importance. When a consumer utters the words “OK, Google” or summons Siri, they perform a search or request information which goes directly to the default search engine, NOT to a specific webpage. Cell phone manufacturers and operating systems are making it easier to search from anywhere on the phone, and it ends up being significantly easier to just search for the website you are seeking, vs. actually opening your mobile browser, and typing in the URL address (cross your fingers you do not make a keystroke error or you could end up at a sketchy site).
The Future Homes of Alphabet:
I will admit that my initial thought was that Alphabet will launch Alphabet.Google as an homage to their roots, as well as a showcase of their shiny new brand gTLD, but I think that is too obvious. I also do not feel that .xyz is the future either, despite the countless domain squatters scooping up every iteration they can think of. Again, we take Google for absolute amateurs if we think they haven’t already had the internal discussions about what gTLD properties they need to own, BEFORE they announce this.
We also seem to forget that Google paid upwards of $25 million to own the entire .app universe and with the unpacking of Google+ into many parts, and the deconsolidation of ‘super apps’ capable of handling many functions, and the .app landscape appears to be a fruitful investment.
The fact the media was so critical on the fact that Google didn’t have the ‘foresight’ to scoop up the .com property for their new venture is a dated mindset. Perhaps Google chose the name Alphabet ON PURPOSE, with the intent to dispel the myths about how it is .com or bust. Perhaps this was a deliberate move to introduce their bevy of new gTLDs, or perhaps some other methodology is in place. We just need to move past the point of .com being the holy grail of TLDs, and embrace the likes of thatsdelicious.coffee, and numberone.dad.