2015-01-13

Has Google Fallen Out Of Love With ICANN's New gTLDs?

Are ICANN's new gTLDs (new generic top-level domains) just another passing fad or a defunct idea now destined for the great trash bin in cyberspace, at least as far as Google is concerned?

Google is notorious for abandoning products and services, almost on a whim--remember Google Reader, Google Buzz, Google Orkut, Google Desktop, Google Labs, Google Health, iGoogle, and many, many more?

While most Silicon Valley companies rejected, scoffed at, and even laughed derisively at ICANN's money-grab a/k/a the new gTLDs program--Google jumped in with both feet at the beginning, applying for more than 100 new gTLDs, through its own Google Registry as well as setting up its own branded Google Registrar.

But somewhere along the way, reality has trumped delusionary new gTLDs enthusiasm in Mountain View:
  1. While Google has immense resources and could outbid any other new gTLD applicant, it has increasingly withdrawn from pursuing its applications for contested new gTLD domains;
  2. Google's new gTLDs in general availability (see registrations for .SOY) have, like most other new gTLDsvery disappointing registration numbers, and receive little marketing support from Google;
  3. The claim by new gTLD proponents that participation by Google in the new gTLDs program would ensure its success, has proven to be just another false claim by new gTLD hucksters;
  4. Google continues to use (as it always has) google.com and redirects .google to .COM
  5. The Google Registrar--Google Domains--has been in beta (by invitation only) since at least June 2014, and shows no signs of going into "live" general availability anytime soon; UPDATE: NOW LIVE in the US --no invitation needed -- although still marked "BETA" (note: Domain Mondo takes no credit for getting Google off its butt!)
  6. At the ongoing new gTLDs "love fest" in Las Vegas, a/k/a NamesCon, Google is conspicuously absent, either as sponsor or participant;
  7. Google has gone out of its way recently to reiterate that new gTLDs do not, and will not, receive any SEO boost over .COM or other domain extensions, proving once again that you cannot believe anything that comes from the new gTLD proponents. In fact, as current trends of cybersquatting and other illegal uses of new gTLDs continue, who knows what effect future algorithmic changes in the great Google bot will have on new gTLDs?
So what does this all mean for the future of new gTLDs in Googleland? Maybe this domaining blogger has it right--

What do Amazon and Google domain name losses mean for new TLDs? | Domain Name Wire: "I’ve also heard that one of Google’s new TLD executive champions left the company. Often, an executive suite champion is needed to see a project to fruition. Having worked at a Fortune 500 company, I’ve seen plenty of initiatives (even those with lots of sunk cost) get shelved for political and monetary reasons. And “just because”. Regardless of how big a deal new TLDs are to new TLD companies, these things are just a spec on the wall at Google and Amazon." (emphasis added)

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