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com.google April Fools' Is No Laughing Matter: What .google Could Mean for Other .brands

Tony Kirsch

When April Fools' Day rolls around each year, Google is generally one of the front runners for jokes — often making headlines for its quirky gimmicks. This year was no exception.

On April 1st, Google launched its first domain name under the recently delegated .google Top-Level Domain (TLD), a massive milestone for all .brand TLD owners. Google is encouraging millions of people around the world to visit: www.com.google.

The page offers a 'flipped' view of Google search — as if perhaps, you were inside Google itself looking outwards.

When promoting the stunt, Google openly promoted it as a product of new gTLDs and specifically its .google Top-Level Domain. Could it be perhaps, that Google is giving users a taste of what's to come - a view from the inside of Google's own corner of the Internet? The move from renting a small piece of .com to now hosting its search engine under on its own Top-Level Domain should not be understated in its significance.

The move attracted a lot of attention as many noted the use of .google and praised Google for its creativity.


There's been much speculation about how Google will use its new gTLD assets — from the .google brand TLD to the likes of .app which Google famously acquired for $25 million earlier this year.

The fact that Google chose to use its .google TLD for this stunt could suggest a wider strategy starting to come into play. Based on its track record, the company's April Fools' efforts were always going to garner a lot of media attention, and they have been quite overt in linking this domain to new gTLDs.

Hopefully, com.google is the 'soft-launch' of a larger .google strategy that will begin to roll out as Google continues to raise awareness of the namespace.

So what does this mean for other .brands? It's no secret that in the world of tech, where Google goes, people follow. If Google starts to activate .google more broadly with as much creativity and innovation as com.google, it will provide a great example for other .brands on how to use a brand TLD to realise its full potential.

Some brands are already making waves with their TLD strategies. We're very proud to be partnering with the likes of Monash University (.monash, the first .brand TLD to go live) and the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (.cancerresearch), which were both reported by CSC to be performing well in search and even have pages appearing in the Alexa 1M Ranking.

Our TLD consulting team is working with .brands to simplify their launch process and maximise business success. We'll be watching closely to see what example Google sets as more .google sites start to emerge.

By Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar
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It's significant, yes; and Google is a Joseph Peterson  –  Apr 07, 2015 5:19 PM PDT

It's significant, yes; and Google is a trend setter, thanks to its overwhelming online dominance.

Yet it's equally significant that the rollout of a reversed com.google happened on April Fools Day and has been reversed – meaning that the .GOOGLE now redirects to Google.com.

I don't mean to imply that this use of .GOOGLE was only a prank.  It wasn't.  They achieved publicity.  But their timing suggests that Google is proceeding with extreme tentativeness.  Rather than leaping into the nTLDs with both feet, unreservedly, Google decided to experiment and test the waters with its big toe.

By creating such a splash on April 1st, Google perhaps conceals a serious but very diffident intention.  Any criticism of a permanent changeover to .GOOGLE could be deflected.  Based on the date, it would be only a prank, right?  Yet under this subterfuge or camouflage, Google could measure the public reaction.

Smartly executed, in my opinion.  And the reaction seems to have been positive, thanks in part to the creativity they deployed and the good will that's generally in the air for odd behavior on April Fools Day.

Overwhelmingly, though, what I note in Google's stunt isn't confidence; it's caution.

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