Google has issued a statement of intent with its recent purchase of the .app web domain for an astonishing $25 million. Bear in mind that this purchase doesn’t simply relate to a Google.app domain but actually covers every single potential usage of the .app suffix. While no announcement has yet been made about the companies specific intentions for the domain, it is likely that it is going to link in with its mobile services in one form or another.
The enormous bid was made during an auction by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which has recently started selling off a whole host of similar domains to interested companies. So far it is believed that the $25 million purchase is the largest of the sales so far, which have included domains such as .baby, .tech and .VIP.
Known as Top Level Domains, these domain names give users the ability to separate their web offerings from the pack and also present a whole host of advertising and branding opportunities. They are a fairly recent phenomenon, as most people will be much more used to the likes of .com or .co.uk, but it is likely that in coming years we will be seeing a lot more of them as more companies snap different domains up.
Google’s bid included the following statement: “The proposed gTLD will provide application developers with the ability to customise domain and website name application offerings to signal to the general population of internet users that .app websites are indeed related to applications and application developers.
“This specialisation makes it clear to internet users that this is the authoritative and designated space where they can find applications and information about developers accessible via differentiated and streamlined web addresses.”
As mentioned, this appears to demonstrate a desire to use the domain for mobile apps and other applications related to Google products. This means that purchase must also be seen as a shot fired against the likes of Apple and Microsoft as it gives Google a way of separating its own applications from theirs. It also prevents other companies from using the domain in their own advertising efforts.
There has been some consternation surrounding the use of such Top Level Domains as other industries have raised concerns over the effect it could have on fair trade of items.
A good example is in the wine industry. As any fan of the drink will know, there are an enormous amount of wines available for purchase from many different countries. The French wine industry in particular has raised concerns about the introduction of a .wine or .vin domain, as the purchase of such a domain could cause issues with the rest of the industry.
The issue lies in the implied authority offered by such a domain. If TLDs take off in the way Icaan believes that they could, the risk is that those without a TLD could be seen as a less of an authority on a subject than those with one, regardless of how accurate that statement is. This creates some wide-reaching issues across every aspect of marketing and business.