Back in August, Google announced it would be doing some corporate restructuring. It would no longer be publically traded as Google Inc., but instead would be a new company called Alphabet Inc. Google itself would be a subsidiary beneath this new company, though it would obviously be the largest company working under this new banner.
Naturally, such a shift would come with the acquisition of the appropriate domain name, right?
Well, maybe not when another big company already has the one you really want.
So what options does that leave?
In this case, since they couldn’t buy alphabet.com, they just bought the alphabet instead.
Can They Do That?
Okay, they obviously didn’t really buy the alphabet, but they did buy abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.com. But one has to wonder how, exactly, they plan to use something like that. Is it worth anything more than just the prestige (if you can call it that) of owning such a domain.
When they first announced that they were making this change, the company actually used (and continues to use) a different domain: abc.xyz. (At the time of writing, the much longer domain is still not being used for anything.) A .xyz domain name is a bit of a rarity in and of itself, but they were able to use it in a creative way. Surely that was good enough for their needs, wasn’t it?
A spokesperson for the company said that “We realized we missed a few letters in abc.xyz, so we’re just being thorough.”
It’s a cute way to look at it, but neither one of these addresses the fact that the car manufacturer, BMW, still owns Alphabet.com. And since it has a legitimate subsidiary named Alphabet that provides real services, there’s not much that the new Alphabet can do about it.
Buying “Neighborhood” Domains
Buying domains that are “in the neighborhood” of your company’s name is nothing new, and in many cases it’s very prudent. It’s sometimes considered a defensive move – something to make sure others can’t buy brand-degrading names for their own purposes. And then there’s domains that are close, but not quite right. Google itself own Googl.com and Gogle.com, just to make sure they can redirect people who misspell the website name.
But is that the same as using abc.xyz and the entire alphabet as a domain for a company called Alphabet?
Obviously, it’s not exactly the same thing, so the question has to be asked whether or not it matters.
The Situation for Google
Obviously, Google, as a search engine, isn’t going to change at all. The products that they already deliver are not going to change or be rebranded.
So the only thing that needs the new domain is the new parent company. And so the question has to be who will be visiting that website, and if a more relevant domain would be helpful.
Alphabet, as a company, will basically be the organization under which Google will group its more “outfield” endeavors. This includes their companies that deal with life sciences, virtual reality, self-driving cards, drone delivery services, and more.
In all of these cases, investors or customers interested in self-driving cars or high-speed internet services will likely just go directly to those websites. The only people interested in Alphabet will be those who have a particular interest in the finances of such a major parent corporation. And there’s a good chance that those people will be very aware of which domain name they will need to use, and won’t mistake BMW’s website for Google’s.
On the other hand, if Google needs to push this domain, they certain have the clout and financial backing to do so, like some others we’ve seen.