Los Angeles Business Journal

Google Validates XYZ’s Alternative Domain in One Swoop

By Garrett Reim Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Daniel Negari thought he hit the jackpot when HBO’s show “Silicon Valley” jokingly registered fictional company Hooli.xyz from his Santa Monica domain registry business XYZ. Then Google called.

As part of Google’s restructuring into a holding company named Alphabet, the company Monday unveiled landing page with the URL abc.xyz, a subtle nod to the mockery it often receives from the show “Silicon Valley.”

The effect on XYZ’s business was immediate.

“My phone blew up, GChat blew up, Facebook blew up and people were running into my office,” said Negari, chief executive of XYZ. “This month we’ve been averaging about 4,200 registrations per day. In the last 19 hours we’ve done 7,600 registrations. And it’s not slowing down.”

XYZ received the rights for the dot-xyz domain name from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Icann, the Marina del Rey nonprofit that manages domain names for the Internet.

“I was the only applicant, so for that reason I got it for (the) $185,000 fee,” said Negari of licensing the dot-xyz suffix. “It’s been a great investment, for sure.”

Icann has been expanding the number of domain name suffixes in recent years and Negari said he went after the so-called generic top-level domain dot-xyz because it was so generally applicable.

“Pretty much everyone went for industry specific domains like dot-rent,” said Negari. “What I was trying to do was trying to create a true generic ending, like one that wasn’t seen on the Internet. Dot-xyz doesn’t have any specific meaning, the meaning is what you use it for.”

XYZ’s domain-selling business is a mixture of speculation and keen branding. After licensing domain names from Icann, the company then sells wholesale to website registrars such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions or Namecheap, which then resell them to website builders.

Negari said he saw dot-xyz as the next generation’s dot-com: a generic suffix that’s fit for any website. And the company has been spending gobs of money marketing the domain as such. What it got from Google, however, is hard to emulate.

“This is the ultimate validation of new generic domain names because a lot of businesses questioned whether Google would rank new domain names well,” said Negari. “I don’t think there will be another true generic like this that will come up; I think this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.