According to a press release issued by the nonprofit international domain regulator Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Amazon purchased the .Buy extension for $4.6 million last Wednesday. Google and a handful of other unnamed companies also placed bids, but Amazon came out on top.
Surprisingly, .Buy wasn’t the most expensive domain extension sold during the auction. DomainNameWire.com reports that .Tech was sold to Dot Tech LLC. For $6,760,000. Of course, that’s a fitting domain extension given the buyer’s name. The .VIP extension is also worth mentioning, as it sold for just over $3 billion to Minds + Machines.
Ever since ICANN announced plans to introduce a line of new domain extensions in 2011, there’s been a new-age gold rush so to speak in acquiring them. The standard .com, .net and .org remain the most popular and widely used extensions, but companies are jumping at the opportunity to be the first on board with new extensions. This recent ICANN auction reinforces the belief that standard .coms aren’t the only viable domain extension in today’s day and age.
So, what does Amazon plan to do with its newly purchased .Buy extension? The e-retailer has yet to issue a statement regarding its purchase. However, there are a few possible theories floating around, one of which is that Amazon will develop web properties to funnel traffic to its main website. Perhaps it will set up hundreds or even thousands of content-driven niche websites in hopes of achieving a high ranking in the search engines. This traffic could then be directed to Amazon’s official website, where visitors could purchase the respective products.
There are a few problems with this scenario, however, one of which is the difficulty in ranking a .Buy domain. Google has explicitly stated in the past that it treats all domain extensions equally, meaning a .Com will rank just as high as a .Info. But numerous case studies have proven otherwise, revealing .Com extensions to consistently rank higher than other domains.
Another theory is that Amazon will launch its own service using the .Buy extension. It’s already entered the realm of cloud computing as well as streaming TV/media. With Amazon constantly exploring new ventures and broadening its horizons, this is a very real possibility. Perhaps it will use the extension to launch a new payment processor to rival PayPal.
According to CNET.com, Google expressed interest in the .Buy extension for the purpose of selling .Buy domains to e-commerce companies. Last year, global business-to-consumer e-commerce sales topped $1.2 trillion – and that’s not counting for business-to-business sales from sites like Alibaba (source). Google was likely hoping to capitalize on the ever-growing e-commerce marketplace by selling .Buy domains to online retailers.
Some market analysts were shocked to learn that Amazon outbid Google for the .Buy extension. After all, Google first publicly expressed interest in the extension back in 2012, listing a variety of domain extension – including .Buy – that it had “applied” for.
Google wrote that it was attempting to acquire domain extensions that fell into one of four categories:
Trademarks, such as .google and .gmail.
Domains related to its core business, such as .docs.
Domains that it believed would improve its users’ experience.
Domains that it believes are interesting and/or with creative potential, such as .lol and .dad.
.Buy certainly wouldn’t fall until a Google trademark, nor is it related to the Mountain View company’s “core business,” but it does have interesting and creative potential. Google launched the invite-only beta version of its domain register service earlier this year. Rightfully called Google Domains, it allows entrepreneurs, business owners and even non-business owners to register their own domains. If Google had acquired .Buy, it would have likely offered the domain through this new platform.
“In 2016, it’s estimated that almost half of the world’s population will be online, yet nearly 50 percent of the websites we visit are found in the .com top-level domain (TLD), which was among the first TLDs created in 1984. Despite the great opportunities the web has enabled for people around the world, there is still a lingering question about the diversity of the domain space (given that the number of generic TLDs has only increased by 14 in the last 28 years),” wrote Google in a 2012 blog post.
Some of the oher domain extensions that Google was reportedly trying to acquire were .ads, .and, .android, .app, .are, .baby, .blog, .boo, .book, .car, .channel, .chrome, .cloud, .corp, .cpa, .dad, .day, .dclk, .dds, .dev, .diy, .docs, .dog, .dot, .drive, .earth, .eat, .esq, .family, .film, .fly, .foo, .free, .fun, .fyi, .game, .gbiz, .gle, .gmail.
Click here to view a complete list of domain extensions that Google expressed interest in acquiring back in 2012.