David Goldstein - Google’s .APP Takes Off


    Google’s big entry into publicly available new gTLDs has been a great success in the first 2 months of General Availability, surging past the 250,000 registrations mark in under 4 weeks and already hovering around the 275,000 mark, becoming the 16th largest of the new gTLDs.

    It’s likely .app had the largest Sunrise of all new gTLDs to launch to date, with around 18,000 registrations when General Availability commenced in early May and then over 146,000 more registrations in the first 2 days of General Availability. Since then registrations have steadily increased.

    Google applied for over 50 new gTLDs and there are 46 that have been delegated by ICANN, but the vast majority of them will be kept for inhouse uses. Only 4 have made it to General Availability – the other 3 being .how with 2,100 registrations, .soy (1,300) and .みんな (Japanese for “everyone”) with 1,150. There is one more coming up - .dev - however launch plans haven’t been released. Yet.

    Google’s .app is aimed at, but not exclusively for, apps and app developers, with added security to help showcase apps to the world. It’s being promoted as the first top level domain to have enforced HTTPS.

    For app developers, Google wants a memorable .app domain name to help make it easy for people to find and learn about apps. It could be used as a landing page to share trustworthy download links, keep users up to date or deep link to in-app content.

    A key benefit of the .app domain is that security is built in. Google have included .app on the HSTS preload list, meaning that HTTPS is required to connect to all .app websites, helping protect against ad malware and tracking injection by ISPs, in addition to safeguarding against spying on open WiFi networks. Because .app will be the first TLD with enforced security made available for general registration, it’s helping move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future in a big way.

    It was also the third most expensive new gTLD string. Google, to date at least, paid the third highest amount for a new gTLD with .app. The largest was Nu Dot Co, which turned out to be a vehicle for Verisign, who paid $135 million for .web, followed by .shop which GMO Registry paid $41.501 million and then .app which cost Google $25.001 million.