Google: Make your website mobile friendly by April 21…or suffer

Google says major mobile search changes are coming.

Unless you want to lose search traffic, you need to make your site mobile friendly before April 21.

Google announced today that it will place more weight on how mobile-friendly a website is when users search from a mobile device starting April 21. The company says this will affect mobile searches in all countries, and will have a “significant impact” on search results.

It’s rare that Google uses the term “significant” to describe algorithm changes.

Google has been warning for a while that sites that aren’t mobile friendly will not rank as well on mobile searches.

Google offers a mobile friendly test for websites, and Webmaster Tools users can get a complete analysis of site issues.

Google pays $25 million for .App domain

Google pays dearly for rights to control .App domain name.

Google has won the rights to operate the .App top level domain name after paying what may be a record-breaking price for a top level domain name.

13 companies applied to run the .app domain name, and 12 of them were still in the running when the ICANN auction started yesterday. The auction was so heated that it continued today, with the final price ending at $25,001,000.

Google beat out other big brands, such as Amazon.com, for the domain name. It also faced off with portfolio new top level domain name applicants such as Minds + Machines, Radix and Famous Four Media.

The company will now be able to offer domain names ending in .app. It’s a natural fit with the company’s Google Play service.

With the domain in hand, it’s possible Google can limit registrations to companies that have an app in Google Play, or use the domains to point directly to app listings in the store. However, its application suggests that it will allow the domain name to be more universally used:

The mission of the proposed gTLD, .app, is to provide a dedicated domain space for application developers. The term “app” is associated with a wide variety of applications, including mobile applications, web- and browser-based applications, cloud-hosted applications and even desktop applications. Charleston Road Registry expects uses of the gTLD will include a wide variety of uses across all of these types of applications, not limited to any specific platform or provider. The proposed gTLD will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space in which application developers can deliver new content and offerings. It also creates new layers of organization on the Internet and signals the kind of content available in the domain.

Still, I imagine it will incorporate .app into its products and service.

3 bidders were willing to pay at least $19.4 million for the domain, and two bidders were in the running in the last round that started at $24.3 million.

Google has shown a lot of restraint in top level domain name auctions to date, only winning a handful. It doesn’t surprise me that the company went all out for .app, given that it’s other auction wins are related to its core products (e.g. .drive, .docs).

The highest price paid in a public new TLD auction before today was $6.8 million, but several domain names have reportedly sold for between $10-$20 million in private auctions.

New candidate for worst domain name: Sqeeqee.com

Why would you put your company at such a marketing disadvantage?

sqeeqeeI’ve written about plenty of poor domain name choices, and I have a new candidate to throw into the mix:

Sqeeqee.com

Sqeeqee.com is some sort of social networking platform, and it proudly just launched a cloud file hosting service called SqeeBox.

How do you think you pronounce these brands?

Skee-key? Skwey-key? Squeak-Key?

It’s tough to say. On the one hand, the logo has keyholes, so I think something with “key” in it. But then their marketing information suggests the latter:

“Almost as fast as you can say “Squeaky”, you can use “Sqeeqee’s innovation social commerce platform to handle all of your social networking…”

(Update: it turns out it is supposed to be pronounced “squeaky”.

Look, I’m a big fan of using a .com domain name for your business. But if your choice is Sqeeqee.com or Squeaky.social, I’d go with the .social. (Actually, I think they’re both horrible, difficult to spell names and I’d just pick another brand name.)

Domain Name Wire Survey is closing soon

The survey period is closing soon…

The deadline for completing the 10th annual Domain Name Wire survey is quickly approaching.

Complete the survey here

Already, people from 25 countries of taken about 5-10 minutes to complete the survey. They’ve answered questions about:

  • Why they chose their current domain name registrar, such as security and pricing
  • Where and how they sell domain names, such as “buy now” or “make offer”
  • The current state of new top level domain names and where they think they’re headed
  • ICANN and internet governance, and how this affects the domain name business

The deadline for the survey is February 27 — take the survey now.

.Science soars to 10,000 registrations in three hours

Famous Four’s latest launch is off to a fast start.

Famous Four Media launched the .Science top level domain name this morning, and registration activity has been brisk so far.

At roughly three hours after launch, 9,680 .science domain names have been registered. The company expects the number to top 10,000 within the next half hour.

Why is .science doing so well? It’s not all rocket science: some registrars are giving the domain names away free or cheap, spurring extra demand. Kind of like .casa and .work, why not try it out for a year?

Alpnames.com is offering the domains for free, and OVH has a $.50 offer.

Not all registrars have such cut-rate pricing, however. You definitely want to shop around.