Commentary

Google, Alphabet, China And .XYZ Domain Fiasco

Google's forthcoming play in China could have something to do with Sergey Brin and Larry Page choosing the last three letters in the English language as the top-level domain extension ".xyz" for Google's holding company Alphabet if XYZ CEO Daniel Negari's clarifying story is on track. Here's another hypothesis.

It came to me following my discussion with Negari after Domain Incite ran what he calls "a misleading piece" on how his company will allow the Chinese government to ban certain words tied to domain names with the Web extension .XYZ. The message so convoluted with niche details that even the most seasoned analyst would have difficulty wading through the legalese. The piece picked up by the Wall Street Journal and others is still being disputed by Domain Incite's Kevin Murphy in this follow-up piece.

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Negari admits he's not an authority on domain names like .com, but offers this example. As the official registries for the TLD .xyz, he explains that Chinese regulators have been threatening to block domain names from companies outside of China that do not appear on their list of approved TLDs, which could include ".com" or ".net," not words like "democracy" or "freedom," and he has been working with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the past nine months to get .xyz on the approved list. 

"We have an application submitted with the Chinese government to have .xyz become one of the first new foreign registries approved to work within China," Negari says. He explains the company has about 500,000 new registrations in China. "All new TLDs operated outside of China such as .xyz cannot currently use these domains in the country."

The application process requires ICANN approval through an application. China will require all foreign registries to have prior approval to operate in the country. And as the Chinese government starts to regulate the Internet within China, Negari admits "is the top level domain name is not on the list you won't be able to use them in the country in the future."

It's not clear what TLDs China will approve, but according to Negari, .xyz is the only U.S. company applying for approval through ICANN. A spokesperson for ICANN in an email wrote "We can’t confirm Negari’s statement."

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