By not buying NexusOne.com, Google reinforces the power of Google search over direct navigation.
Over the past few days I’ve read numerous stories by my peers suggesting that Google messed up by not registering the NexusOne.com domain name prior to launching its new phone initiative. My initial reaction was the same. But I quickly changed my mind: not acquiring the domain name was actually a smart move. Brilliant.
Hear me out.
Let’s think about the company we’re discussing. It’s Google. What does Google hate more than anything else? Direct navigation and direct search. It hates that people type domain names directly into the URL bar rather than going to Google first to search for it.
By not using NexusOne.com for its phone domain name, Google has just taught web surfers a lesson about direct navigation not always working. And what happens when someone types in NexusOne.com and sees this?
Odds are the next thing they’ll do is go to Google to search for “Nexus One”. There they will find one ad, a Google ad for the phone, along with the first search result: Google’s official web page for Nexus One.
It’s not like Google is going to lose sales over this. People interested in the phone will still find it.
Now, normally I’d say the company is inconveniencing its customers, like I did when Dell didn’t buy Adamo prior to launching its new line of computers. This is different, since the inconvenience sends customers to Google’s flagship web site to find what they are looking for.
But wait, couldn’t the current owner of NexusOne.com put up ads for phones? Google could sue for trademark infringement. And if a competitor buys the domain Google can quickly pick up the domain name in UDRP since the registration date would be considered after Google got its common law trademark.
So I’m going to respectfully disagree with my peers on this one. By not registering NexusOne.com, Google didn’t make a huge mistake. It was a brilliant move.