Ever since ICANN relaxed controls over domain name suffixes, there has been an explosion of every combination under the sun from .bike to .pottery. However, finding a memorable domain can still be quite difficult: how do you pair the theme of your website with an appropriate suffix?
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, created abc.xyz, a memorable and simple representation for their company. Launched in 2014, .xyz has gone on to be one of the most used suffixes, more than .info, .co, and .biz. Earlier this month, .xyz became one of the first foreign-operated domains to get approval for domestic hosting in China.
To learn more about the process and their future plans, we spoke with Daniel Negari, CEO of XYZ.
Why did it take so long to get accredited?
Getting accredited in China was unchartered territory. We spent over a year working very closely with China and ICANN to develop and test a technical solution that met policy and system requirements. XYZ is the only registry to receive approval from ICANN for our technical solution to operate in China.
We also set up our WFOE, created our Chinese Business Entity, Beijing XYZ Technology Co LTD, and opened an office in China. All of this was done ahead of accreditation to prepare for the exponential growth our registrar partners are expecting in 2017.
What policy and security requirements did you have to meet in order to get accredited?
In addition to setting up our WFOE, business entity, and office, we hired Mason Zhang as Beijing XYZ’s first employee to lead our expansion efforts in China. We also partnered with ZDNS, a local backend registry to handle our DNS, escrow files, and other local data in a secure manner that meets China’s policies.
What is the difference between being accredited inside vs outside of China?
Accreditation outside of China is only through ICANN, the nonprofit organization that maintains the internet’s stability. Our accreditation as a registry operator through ICANN allows us to sell .xyz domains through registrar partners all over the world, such as GoDaddy, Hostinger, and Crazy Domains. The registrants can then host their websites or email services on their .xyz domains.
ICANN also allows us to work with registrars within China, like Alibaba, Chengdu West, and XinNet. But even though people were buying .xyz domains in China, they could not actually use their domains until we were accredited. That means even domains like 1.xyz, which sold for over 1.1 million RMB in April 2016, could not be hosted in China until now.
Why is the .xyz domain selling so well globally?
.xyz is for every website, everywhere. We provide businesses and individuals all over the world with an affordable, memorable, and flexible platform to connect online through the community we are cultivating called “Generation XYZ.” This includes a number of very well-known organizations and businesses, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The university recently announced the launch of Engine.xyz – their startup accelerator with $175 million USD in funding to support technologies that are making a positive impact on a global scale. The cofounders of Skype have also been in the news a lot recently for their newest venture, Starship.xyz, which just partnered with Mercedes-Benz and Just Eat for affordable robotic food delivery.
How much of your success do you attribute to Google choosing abc.xyz?
.xyz has been a popular choice among internet users – especially young adults, startups, and registrants in emerging internet markets – because it just makes sense. As the last three letters of the Latin alphabet, .xyz transcends language barriers. This is especially important in countries where English isn’t the first language, such as China, Japan, and Russia – all countries where .xyz has become very popular.
How will you expand in China over the coming year?
Now that .xyz is accredited in China, we expect to see many more innovative use cases come online at an even faster rate. We already have a dedicated team focused on growing in China and are hiring more employees to work in our Beijing office.
Just like we have in over 200 other countries, we will help end users in China get online and connect with their audience all over the world. Many of the innovative marketing strategies we have implemented in the past, such as #WebsiteWednesdays and website design contests, are already in the works for registrants specifically in China.
We are also supporting domain investors in China by creating tools to help them invest in .xyz domains. For example, our whole premiums site – which allows you to search for available Chinese phrases, 4-character, 6-number, and other desirable domains – is now in Chinese: www.gen.xyz/cn/jingpin. We are also organizing our biggest auction ever, which we expect to generate over $1 million USD in sales.