Web Culture

Google Chose .XYZ Over .Com for Alphabet. Is .Com Irrelevant?

Mihir Patkar 11-09-2015

Last month, in a surprise move, Google became Alphabet Google Is Now Part Of...Alphabet? What You Need To Know Google, the Internet giant, is turning into Alphabet. Here's what that means for you. Read More . Now, this is the Internet’s biggest brand and the largest Internet-focused company. You would assume that their homepage would be Alphabet.com, right? Wrong. Google, or Alphabet, doesn’t think the .com is essential any more and set its global domain at abc.xyz.


A while back, Internet regulator ICANN opened new extensions – beyond the familiar .Com, .Net, .Org and so on. These extensions, called top-level domains (TLD), will allow Internet users to get more personalized and meaningful names, while not being restricted by whatever is available as a .Com.

However, there are still many who believe the .Com address is invaluable and these other TLDs aren’t a good idea.

The Defenders of .Com


Paul Graham, investor and co-founder of Y Combinator, kicked off a debate on the Internet last month when he wrote on his blog, “If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.”

Graham says that having the .Com lends credibility and strength to your venture. Unless the founder has a major reputation already, any other TLD suggests you aren’t a big player.


In fact, over the years, the .Com domain name has attracted huge investments. Insurance.com sold for $35.6 million in 2010, Internet.com for $18 million in 2009, and the list of the top 35 domain sales has nothing less than $2.5 million.

Compared to that, ProductHunt founder Ryan Hoover At 28, He's Running A $7 Million Company That Just Recommends New Apps Links to apps sounds simple, but there's a lot more to Product Hunt – and there is a lot more to founder Ryan Hoover. Read More got off easy by purchasing the .com for $3,000.

“From my perspective, .com has always felt more legitimate and there was a concern that some people would assume we had producthunt.com,” Hoover tells MakeUseOf.

SEO analytics firm SearchMetrics also says to go with a .com. “It’s a rookie mistake to think that only links and keywords matter with SEO — the truth is that Google has an affinity for brands,” the firm advises.


Analyzing 100,000 domains and 100 million links, they found that 75% of all links go back to a .Com address. The “brand” credibility that a .Com provides makes it more memorable and people are programmed to think your brand’s website ends with a .Com.

Does Everyone Really Need a .Com?

So why did Google not acquire Alphabet.com? Why did it go with .xyz? In a funny twist, Wired recalls how Daniel Negari, the founder of the .xyz domain, once told them, “We end the alphabet in ‘xyz’ and we should end domain names the same way.” It’s almost like Google was listening.

The new TLDs released by ICANN and their adoption by the Internet’s biggest company lends credibility to the notion of moving away from the .Com. The base logic makes a lot of sense too.

Alex Kehr, who launched the FindKatrina missing persons database, explains on his blog [No Longer Available], “With domain investors demanding such high prices for their .COM domains, while helping keep availability low, they are effectively pushing consumers to consider alternative TLDs. This is great for companies that own New TLDs because they have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from .COM by highlighting their affordability, availability, and memorability.”


Negari believes .xyz can become the new .Com because it is just as memorable, and as long as companies like Google back it, it will continue to grow.

“Over the next 30 years, .xyz will reign supreme as not only the #1 new domain extension, but eventually as the NUMBER 1 domain in the world. Period,” he wrote.

How TLDs Can Change the Internet


In the full list of new TLD names, you will find various options which make you wonder why that’s needed at all.


For example, New York City got a .nyc domain, making it easier for small businesses in the city to distinguish themselves. Say there was a Frederico’s Pizza in New York and a Frederico’s Pizza in Los Angeles – freredicospizza.nyc tells you immediately that you are getting the New York City outlet. It’s this simplification that ICANN was after.

Dr. Stephen Wolfram, the creator of Wolfram Alpha, supports the notion of a .Data TLD which lets companies put out publicly accessible data. It would be yet another way that Wolfram Alpha makes lives easier 20 Ways Everyday Life is Easier with Wolfram Alpha There is something about Wolfram Alpha. It makes complicated computations cool again. Here are 20 ways to put the engine to everyday use. Read More .

Then there’s the .Sucks TLD, which could be a nightmare for companies that want to avoid bad publicity. Imagine, instead of generic sites to complain about bad service The 6 Best Complaint Sites for Pissed Off Consumers Had a bad shopping experience? If you want to comment on a business or product, head to these consumer complaint sites. Read More , you can expose all of a company’s bad practices on a single domain which everyone knows they should go to. It’s unlikely to happen, but that’s the potential power of TLDs.

Where .Com Rules, Where .Com Doesn’t Matter


The shift to mobile is also making the demand for a .Com less important, according to Hoover.

“Companies building a business primarily for the web, particularly for a broad mainstream audience, will benefit most from owning the .com,” he told MakeUseOf. “Those focused entirely on mobile, have less to gain by owning that domain as mobile apps are discovered largely through word of mouth, search, and App Store/Google Play discovery.”

Hoover also candidly admits that frequent visitors to Product Hunt search for it on Google as opposed to typing the full URL, producthunt.com, in their browser.

Still, for most businesses, the familiarity of a .Com also speaks to a huge portion of the Internet which isn’t that tech-savvy. Domain blog I Want My Name says that even though more people are understanding the Internet and working in tech, a substantial number still view the Internet as a dangerous place with malicious elements — and every privacy concern or data theft story only fans these flames. When someone is already viewing the Internet with suspicion, a .Com will ease their mind against a .xyz or anything else.

That said, if you’re considering moving away from .Com, SEO expert Russ Jones gave MakeUseOf some simple advice: “It draws attention, but you have to own the ridicule.”

Do You Think .Com Is Not Important?

If you come across a website address that isn’t .com, how do you see it? Are you more likely to click it or not? And how much does .Com matter when sites like Twitter are shortening links while sharing anyway? Give us your take on this .Com mess in the comments below!

Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao via Shutterstock.com, ary74 via Pixabay

Related topics: Domain Name, Google.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 15, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I Would Also Not Mind To Be A Regular User Of ALPHABET.XXX Or GOOGLE.XXX.

    Will We Ever See Them ?

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 24, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      You're a rabble rouser. You rouse rabbles.

      • Anonymous
        September 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        ENGLISH Is Not My Native Language.

        Care To Explain ?

        Thank You.

    • Amber
      July 13, 2017 at 5:07 am

      I think that a .xxx would be seen as a possible porn site, don't you think?

      • A41202813GMAIL
        July 13, 2017 at 5:02 pm


        ( I Do Not Remember Why My Previous Comments Were Branded Anonymous )


        Anyway, ASSuming That You Are Not Unfamiliar With The Show THE BIG BANG THEORY, You Definitively Should GOOGLE The Word BAZINGA.

        Cheers ( I Mean - BAZINGA ).

  2. Anonymous
    September 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Internet users are familiar with .com. When they go to type in a URL they usually type .com if they don't know what domain to use. There's nothing wrong with using a different domain. We have .biz, .edu, .gov among others. .Com isn't the only one out there. It has to be something that fits so it can be remembered. It can't be something like abc.fpg. Abc.xyz fits together.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 24, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Yeah, I agree, simple and memorable is the key.

  3. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Great post, Mihir!

    In the .nyc example you touch upon that the new TLDs are able to tell the story better than a .com. That's the essence of Google choosing a .xyz over a classic extension. I'm certain they never even considered alphabet.com (though the very strong .com domainer community wants you to think differently), becayse abc.xyz tells the story perfectly.

    Yes, I know, .com has been around for 30 years, and we all use it, but what does the extension actually tell about your business? Nothing.

    I would even bet you that if all TLDs had been launched on the same day, .com would just have been one of many options. Now it's the standard, but that doesn't mean that it does the job better. When chosen wisely new TLDs can support your brand story, and bring you some valuable first mover effect (as the guys who were featured in the NY Times because they used .bike for their bike shop).

    As a sidenote: I don't buy into the trust argument for using a .com, which you're not the only one to point out. .Com costs USD 9,99 and have no requirements. Anyone can register it, and it's one of the cheapest TLDs. Why should I trust a .com site more than a .guru? DIsagree? Have a look in your spam folder, and I can guarantee that 90% of the results are on a .com domain.


    • Mihir Patkar
      September 14, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      "When chosen wisely new TLDs can support your brand story, and bring you some valuable first mover effect"

      This is the crux of the argument, I think. And I kind of agree. I also find that because we are moving to a more search- and mobile-dominated experience, as Ryan Hoover points out in the post, the dependence on a .com reduces. Thoughts?

      • Anonymous
        September 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm

        If the awareness gap is limited, then yes, .com will lose some of its significance. .Com will always be the standard, since all major brands use .com, and the barriers to change domain name for your site are so high - both technically and marketing wise.

        The use of new TLDs will come from new websites. Many aren't able to get their preferred .com. In the old days they would go for .net or .co. I believe that the new TLDs will be much more attractive. Secondly, the startups which are aware about new TLDs will come up with creative names adding the freshness to their brand story.

        Regarding mobile search and the reduction of use of domains (incl. com) I'm not sure that this is correct. We will still use Google on the mobile, and even with such a new mobile friendly technology such as the physical web a catchy web address will be an important part of the user experience.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

          Great points! Thanks for taking the time to reply, Christopher :)

  4. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 5:51 am

    abc.xyz (letters a to z) makes far more sense than abc.com or alphabet.com. It has nothing to do with .com domain.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Yes Bikas, it makes sense, but the question is whether people who want to find out more about Google's mother company Alphabet will naturally type "alphabet.com" in their web header or not. What do you think? Or will they end up just searching for it?

  5. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    There's also a fairly simple reason why they went for the domain they did... alphabet.com was taken. For .com, basically every English word or short combination of characters is already taken.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      It was taken, but they could have considered buying it. We're talking about the biggest internet company in the world here.

      • Anonymous
        September 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm

        Not everybody is necessarily going to want to sell. Especially not to a company smaller than you (alphabet.com is the website for Alphabet Fleet Management, part of BMW, which is a bigger company than Google/Alphabet, at least by revenue).

      • Anonymous
        September 13, 2015 at 5:11 am

        they could have considered buying it but from i i think they went somewhat like the amazon logo way.. the a to z arrow..

        like abc.xyz.. so alphabets a to z.

        i agree .com will always be the number one domain for ppl like me who have see the net grow from early 2000s in india to currently but these new domain names offer some creativity and also much needed change.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm

          Exactly. I like that this lets people get creative. I hope we get more than .XYZ, but I wouldn't mind even .xyz being crazy popular.

  6. Anonymous
    September 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    It's a gimmick by Google just to be different. In a few years, when "everybody" has an .xyz domain, Google will change their domain again to .goo or some other silly extension.

    IMO, in the case of Google, it is not the extension that is relevant but the name itself. 'Google' is distinctive and memorable, 'Alphabet' is common and mundane. Google made a big mistake when they changed their name to 'Alphabet' no matter how well it might fit their new persona. Google has become a part of the vernacular the way 'coke', 'kleenex' and 'xerox' have. It will take them years before the name 'Alphabet' becomes established, if it ever does. Even if it becomes established, 'Alphabet' will never become part of the vernacular.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 11, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      I'm not sure they want to make Alphabet part of the vernacular in the way Google is. At least not in the near future.

      • Anonymous
        September 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        Do you think "alphabet it" will ever replace "google it" even if Alphabet jumps up and down, stomps its feet and throws a hissy fit? I seriously doubt it.

        BTW - who or what is Alphabet? Isn't that something kids are taught in first grade?

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 12, 2015 at 6:00 am

          Now I just want to see Alphabet throwing that hissy fit