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Google changed the .channel, and it launches this week

Google Registry launches .channel with a different business plan.

Remote control pointing at a TV with the words "Google changed the channel"
Google broadens the audience for .channel, which launches in sunrise this week.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) launches the .channel top level domain into sunrise tomorrow, May 3, with a different business plan than what it initially envisaged.

.Channel was originally intended as a vanity URL for YouTube creators to feature their content. But it’s been a decade since Google applied for the domain, and it had second thoughts about restricting the domain.

The company recently posted its domain registration policies for .channel. (The full policy submitted to ICANN is here.) The policy now states that “.channel domain names are intended solely for use by creators and publishers to host or redirect to storefronts featuring digital and physical products, and audience-building mechanisms for the purpose of monetization.” In other words, it has extended it beyond YouTube and beyond just content channels.

According to the policy document, during the year-long “Limited Registration Phase,” content creators can apply for a .channel domain “via approved content creation platforms, which will evaluate applications based on compliance with the Registration Policy.” It will go into General Availability after that.

It’s safe to assume that YouTube will participate and might be the only “approved” platform at first. Will Google reach across the aisle to Amazon-owned Twitch and other streaming services? This would provide a larger base of prospective registrants, but the services often compete for audience and creators. And for Google, domain registration revenue can be secondary to other value it derives from domains registrations.

 

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