In the past year, .xyz has become the most popular new generic top-level domain (gTLD) out there. Founded by Daniel Negari and made public in June 2014, .xyz has been predicted by many to join the ranks of the most popular gTLDs such as .com, .net and .org. When asked why he chose to name his domain ending .xyz, he claimed that “we end the alphabet in xyz and we should end domain names the same way”. Negari definitely has faith in his .xyz venture as he has already invested $185,000 in the project. The investment seems to be paying off as .xyz currently boasts over 1.5 million domain registrations after barely more than a year in existence.
Why has .xyz become so popular? While .biz, .club and .info are often associated with spam, ad or affiliate sites, the founders of .xyz launched a heavy campaign to promote their gTLD in a positive light, often campaigning for causes such as free speech and anti-censorship. Negari refers to .xyz as the domain ending for the next generation, a generation he aptly calls ‘Generation XYZ’. The prospect of moving beyond the age of .com is exciting to many young internet users and with the highly ambitious Negari as its face, the .xyz project has a lot of potential.
The biggest impact on the success of .xyz came from Google’s decision in August to use abc.xyz as the domain name for their new holding company, Alphabet. Google’s faith in .xyz sent shockwaves through the system, with many hailing the end of the .com era. Most experts deny that .xyz marks the beginning of the end of the .com reign, but they do agree that it is the beginning of a shift.
With Google placing its faith in .xyz, it is changing the game. First, it is giving .xyz a good deal of trust and legitimacy, which already sets it apart from other less successful or trusted gTLDs. Second, it is setting the stage for a ripple effect, whereby people who believe that .xyz will become a major player start purchasing .xyz domains, thereby upping its popularity, exposure and value. In many ways .xyz could become a self-fulfilling prophesy; people’s excitement at the prospect is making the prospect more likely.
It might be too soon to tell whether .xyz will join the big leagues, but it could be exciting. As it increasingly difficult to find good domain names, ,xyz could open up a whole new world of opportunity and possibilities.