Is there such a thing as a brandable generic TLD?

Some generic domain extensions will need to create a brand to be successful.

standoutOver a thousand new top level domain names are headed to the web, and hundreds of them will be open to the general public for registration.

A lot of them are generic in nature: .web, .site, .website…

Much like .info, you can register these domain names for any use. The domain names make sense and they aren’t limited to a niche.

But could a generic domain name become a brand of its own?

One that pops to mind is .xyz. In the case of .xyz, it has to become a brand on its own in order to succeed.

Unlike other generics, the odds are initially stacked against .xyz. It’s long (when you say it). It has a “bottom” or “end” connotation, not a “top” or “first” one. It truly means nothing on its own, whereas other generics have some connotation. Even repurposed ccTLDs such as .me and .co have some connotation just in the letters that make them up.

.xyz, on the other hand, has no connotation. At least not a positive one.

Whenever I talk to friends about new top level domain names and I throw out the example of .xyz, they give a really puzzled look. “Why would anyone register a .xyz domain name?”

It’s a fair question. There are two reasons I can think of. One would be if it’s dirt cheap. The other would be if it becomes the trendy thing to do.

After all, why on earth would anyone register a .io domain name? I don’t know, but it became trendy. Why would you leave letters out of your domain name? It started as a way to get a .com domain that wasn’t registered, but then it became (stupidly) trendy.

I can see someone registering a .web or .site domain because they can’t get the same name in .com. It sells itself as an alternative.

.xyz doesn’t. Which leads me to believe that some generic domains (and .xyz is the one that pops to front of mind) will have to spend greatly to try to create a meaning of their own.

This isn’t unprecedented. Even though .co has meaning, it spends a lot of money creating a brand around the name as well. Like advertising in the Super Bowl and at just about every startup conference on earth.

Of course, .co hasn’t been competing with the noise of hundreds of other extensions, either.


  1. says

    Like it or not, they will ALL become defacto brands. That is, they will develop some sort of association in mind of the consumer.

    The question is whether the Registry will be pro-active in shaping what this association willbe, or whether it will be happenstance.

    IMHO, the successful TLDs will be pro-active about it.

  2. Nick Nelson says

    Not sure I agree with this, I could see “” being brandable more than “” – you just have to incorporate xyz into your branding.

    • says

      Interesting perspective. Right now I don’t see many companies using the TLD as part of the branding (with exception to .com, but it’s often dropped). An exception might be .me, because it can be used as sort of a domain hack.

      I suppose the example you gave is a registrant helping .xyz brand .xyz.

  3. says

    I thought of .xyz as inclusive, ‘the whole shebang’, ‘everything under the sun’ rather than ‘bottom’, ‘last’ or ‘end’.,,

    Places where you’ll find

    was my take . . .

  4. Kassey says

    Insightful analysis! I guess marketing is where Daniel will be spending a lot of money on. The issue with xyz branding is: can you trademark something like if you don’t own the “.” and “xyz”?

  5. JZ says

    the only reason .xyz exists is because daniel owns otherwise, he never would of applied for it. its certainly no reason to create a gtld in my mind but hey, at least you won’t have to fight others in auction for it. his .college has much more potential (in the limited potential i view these gtld’s as having).

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