Launches of new generic top-level domains have slowed down considerably in recent years. And that's a not a bad thing. With 500+ gTLDs now available, not including country-code extensions, there is a domain out there for almost about every conceivable vertical. And many of these domains have limited or narrow use cases. But every now and then, a new and important gTLD comes to market.
Enter .app by Google Registry which will become available for general registration in May 2018.
.App’s story started back in 2012 when it was first conceived. Then in 2015, Google won the rights to run the .app domain registry from ICANN via auction for a record $25 million dollars, beating out huge players like Amazon.
Android apps. Google apps. Chrome apps. Makes perfect sense that Google would have an interest in the .app gTLD, right?
While Google’s original application stated that .app would be made available only to verified app developers, it has since opted to make .app an unrestricted domain, opening the namespace to anyone who wants to register. In a world where almost everything and anything can be “appified,” apps have become extremely important to businesses, organizations and government, and a mainstay of how they interact with customers and stakeholders irrespective of the industry they operate in. For this reason, .app is one of the most interesting and anticipated top-level domains to launch in a long time, and with Google’s backing, adoption should be swift.
Here are seven things .app domain registrants should know...
1.) .app is HTTPS-only - As part of Google’s push towards universal encryption for a safer, more secure web, the entire .app namespace has been added to the HSTS Preload list, making HTTPS required on all connections to .app websites — no individual HSTS registration or manual configuration is needed.
As an encrypted-by-default TLD, .app will only load on modern browsers if a valid SSL certificate has been configured. As Chrome and other browsers move forward with labeling non-SSL encrypted websites as “Not secure,” consumers will be trained to expect nothing less than HTTPS. There is no going back, Google has ordained it. So with that in mind, embrace it and get ahead of it. The HTTPS requirement for .app will give visitors confidence in both the website they are visiting and the entire .app namespace. It’s better for consumers and businesses. And if you need an SSL with your .app registration, we’ve got you covered.
2.) An intuitive gateway to app-related content - With more than 6 million apps available through Google Play and the App Store alone, nevermind Windows apps, desktop apps, and more, global users can benefit from standardization for finding legitimate, app-related content on the web. The .app domain will help to resolve this by creating an intuitive and trustworthy location online for app-related information, be it download links, release notes, user support, reviews, and feedback, or web-based apps. A globally understood term, .app is quite simply a more logical and more meaningful choice for app content than a country code domain or legacy top-level domain.
3.) If you have a trademark, you can register it right now (without paying more) - Google Registry is doing right by trademark owners. Unlike other nTLD launches, .app’s Sunrise registration fees are the same as General Registration. Typically, it’s less price sensitive brands and bigger corporate entities that register during Sunrise, which leads most registry operators to set a price that is often hundreds of dollars higher than General Registration fees. Google Registry hasn't done this. At only USD $34.99, the Sunrise price is the same as General availability. This is rare and in the best interest of trademark owners.
Enrollment with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is required to validate your trademark for registration as a .app domain. If you don’t have this in place, you’ll need to get on it asap. Let us know if you need help and we can expedite the process.
Domain ownership is the most effective way to defend and protect your brand, so here’s hoping .app’s affordable Sunrise period incentivizes more trademark holders to register early.
4.) Early access period can increase your odds of success - Your best chance to secure non-premium .app domains (if you’re not a trademark holder and eligible for Sunrise) is during the Early Access Period which starts on May 1 and runs for 7-days. The one-time EAP participation fee is highest on day one (USD $16,534.99) and lowest on days five through seven (USD $204.99). While the domain registration fee of $34.99 is not included in the EAP fee, domains that are registered during this period will renew at the standard registration fee.
5.) You can pre-order now… and you should - As with all domain launches, early birds come out on top. By pre-ordering the .app domains you want ahead, you increase your chances of acquiring them. Pre-orders are held in a queue on a first come, first served basis and are no risk. While payment information is required, you will only be charged for successful registrations. Be advised, pre-orders can be submitted for all seven days of the Early Access Period, in addition to General availability.
6.) All registration phases are first-come, first serve - In previous gTLD launches, multiple requests for the same domain have gone to auction with the highest bidder taking home the prize. Google Registry is not doing this, and the result is a more level playing field. Where identical trademarks exist for different products or services, the first one to submit will get the domain. Same with the other registration phases.
7.) Premium domains are available at premium prices - Domains are categorized as "premium" for a number of reasons, among them brandability, length (the shorter, generally the better) or keyword use. Like most registry operators, Google Registry has designated a number of premium domains (e.g., examples include names like banking.app or bitcoin.app) that will be available at higher than standard pricing, in this case, USD $49 to $1599. This is notably less than other recent TLD launches. Note that premium domains also renew at their premium registration price, so factor that into your decision.
If you have an app, or are in the business of developing them, this domain is going to be relevant to you and your audience. We hope this information helps you make an informed decision about when and how to register, as well as how to be compliant with .app's security requirements. We encourage all prospective registrants to pre-order the .app domains you want as soon as possible to increase your chances of success. To learn more, you can visit webnames.ca/dotapp or give our team a call at 1-866-976-9835 to answer any additional questions you might have.