By Erica Bray
If you go to Google Domains, the Internet giant’s one-stop-shop for purchasing domains and building a website, you might notice something curious. Click here, and look at the URL.
Instead of a ‘dot-com’ (.com), the URL ends in … ‘dot-google’ (.google).
As in, www.domains.google.
Confused? Don’t be.
Curious? Do be.
This is a digital trend on the trajectory to becoming more commonplace. Google is among the first major brands to use a domain extension that is not a ‘dot-com.’
"This is exciting news because it is one of the first real uses by a big company of their new 'dot-brand' to market their products and services that is not replicated or redirected from the 'dot-com' space," says Jen Wolfe, who consults businesses on digital and domain strategy at Dot Brand 360.
Google isn't alone. Others getting into the game early include BMW, which owns ‘dot-bmw’ (.bmw), and Barclays, which owns ‘dot-barclays’ (.barclays). These companies have started using their brand-specific domains with sites such as www.next100.bmw and www.home.barclays, respectively.
It’s all part of a bigger movement happening online. Hundreds of new domain extensions, a.k.a. those words to the right of the dot, have been released for public use. This has created new Internet real estate for businesses and brands just coming online, given ‘dot-com’ opportunity has become more challenging to secure -- and often times, more expensive to do so.
New options are as practical as ‘dot-agency’ (.agency) and ‘dot-photography’ (.photography) and as fun as ‘dot-world’ (.world) and ‘dot-guru’ (.guru).
"When we survey people, they get it and understand the impact of creating these new zip codes or categories of the Internet," says Wolfe. "As big companies migrate into these new spaces and market it to consumers, the acceptance will be very natural and come quickly, particularly with Millennials and younger people."
The big difference with Google, along with other companies migrating to brand-specific extensions, is that ‘dot-google’ is proprietary to just Google. Meaning, you and I cannot buy a domain with the 'dot-google' extension.
While a Google domain might not make sense for you anyway, a lot of the publicly available options might. They are available right now and already being put to use by businesses who want a digital name that is unique, meaningful, memorable ... and yes, searchable.
In fact, Google has already gone on the record telling people not to worry about use of "not-com" domain extensions negatively impacting a website's SEO.
The company proclaims in a recent blog post: “We’re so excited about our new domain name endings, we used one ourselves!” Wolfe says as big, global companies begin adopting brand-specific domain extensions, it will have a ripple effect on businesses of all shapes and sizes.
"Smaller businesses and startups will quickly recognize they can build smarter 'digital neighborhoods' by using a domain name more tailored to their industry and that connects more personally with their targeted customer," she says.
Here is a small sampling of other businesses already getting in on the ground floor of this online trend:
www.Artof.fitness A personal fitness studio based in Orlando, Fla. Click here for the full story.
www.WarriotPoet.clothing A children’s clothing company that sells online and in retail stores such as Von Maur and Neiman Marcus. Click here for the full story.
www.Upshot.agency A Chicago-based marketing agency. Click here for the full story.
www.Driftaway.coffee A subscription-based coffee company that delivers across the U.S. Click here for the full story.
www.FatBaby.photography A Dallas-based photography studio that specializes in infant photos. Click here for the full story.
www.Katie.show The podcast home of technology expert and ‘Today’ show favorite, Katie Linendoll. Click here for the full story.
www.Ronaldo.academy Soccer academy founded by legendary Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo. Click here for more.
www.BornThisWay.foundation The nonprofit organization co-founded by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta.
Back to Google, because this news certainly begs the question: As Google perhaps transitions all of its online property to a ‘dot-google,’ does that mean its search engine page – which receives more than 3.5 billion visits per day – will migrate to www.google.google?
"Obviously, Google carries a lot of weight in the digital and technology sectors and is an indicator of what they may do in the future," says Wolfe. "This is one step in the direction of using 'dot-google' to market their products and services."
In other words, stay tuned.