Google Acquires Entire ‘.app’ TLD for $25 Million

Google has spent $25 million dollars to acquire exclusive rights over the “.app” domain.

The corporate giant made the decision to apply for a number of top-level domains (TLDs) back in 2012, including .docs, .android, .free, .fyi, .foo, and .app. The decision came four years after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization that manages global domain names, announced an increase in the number of generic TLDs.

Tons of domains like ‘.buy’, ‘free’, ‘docs’ and others are up for sale

ICANN began the process of auctioning domains since June 2014. Since then, many companies have rigorously competed to outbid the others, resulting in some particularly expensive acquisitions. Last Fall, Amazon bought the “.buy” and “.spot” domains for around $5 million and $2.2 million respectively.

Meanwhile, Dot Tech LLC reportedly outbid Google to secure the “.tech” domain for $6.7 million last year. However, these investments seem tame compared to the $25 million “.app” acquisition by Google. It is the biggest bid a company has made thus far in any of ICANN’s auctions.

Google’s own ICANN certified domain registry currently lets users register for “.how”, “.soy”, and “.minna” domains. It is further planning to incorporate the registry of other top-level domains, such as “.dad”, “.here”, “.eat”, and “.new”. After the corporate giant’s latest acquisition, it’s likely that “.app” will soon be joining the aforementioned list of available domains.

Acquiring such a lucrative TLD could be a game changer if Google decides to monetize it 

For now, it isn’t possible to directly purchase domains via Google’s registry. Instead, users are directed to partner sites for this purpose. However, Google’s own domain registration service is currently in beta and will be made available publically at some point in the future.

With the acquisition of .app, it appears that Google is looking to prepare itself for a future where the bulk of internet search is app-centered.