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Wing.com Acquired by X, Google’s “Moonshot Factory”

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In late July, I noticed a couple of interesting changes related to the Wing.com domain name. Those changes were noted in a tweet I sent out:

Wing.com had been owned by a company called Wing Inflatables. This Summer, I saw that the domain name transferred to MarkMonitor, a brand protection company and domain registrar used by many large companies. When someone visited Wing.com, they reached a temporary landing page informing them that they were going to be forwarded to a different website (I believe it was InflatableSolutions.com).

When I saw this, I speculated that the domain name may have been acquired by X, a research and development company operated by Google’s parent company, Alphabet (colloquially referred to as “The Moonshot Factory”). Wing is an independent company that was incubated within X, and it would have made sense for X to have acquired the Wing.com domain name for this business.

At the time of my tweet, I reached out to Wing Inflatables to ask if the company sold Wing.com. I did not receive a response to my query.

A couple of days ago, I checked in on Wing.com, and I noticed that it is being used by X’s Wing. The domain name is now registered to DNStination, Inc., the privacy proxy service operated by MarkMonitor. It would appear that X did, in fact, acquire the Wing.com domain name. I reached out to Google’s Press office, but I did not hear back from the group yet (update – see below)

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that this was a mid to high six figure sale – and perhaps as high as seven figures. The former registrant had to change its web presence and marketing, including a change of email addresses. This is not easy nor without risk, so I presume this valuable domain name was quite expensive.

With Google’s willingness to use new gTLD domain names like ABC.xyz and X.Company, it is always interesting to see the company buy a domain name like Wing.com.

Update: I heard back from Google this afternoon, but the company has no comment about the domain name.

Duck.com Now Forwarding to DuckDuckGo (Updated)

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Over the Summer, Cnet published an article about how Google owns the Duck.com domain name. It was notable because of a popular upstart competitor in the Internet search space called DuckDuckGo. I am sure DuckDuckGo would have loved to own Duck.com, and from the looks of it, the company may have acquired Duck.com.

If you visit Duck.com right now, you will be forwarded to DuckDuckGo.com.

Over the weekend, Jamie Zoch first reported that Duck.com may have been sold to DuckDuckGo because it transferred to Namecheap and the nameserver records are the same as DuckDuckGo. I also saw the transfer in my DomainTools monitor email, and I sent an email to the Google press relations office as well as the Investor Relations team to ask if Google sold Duck.com. I have not received a response to my query, but I will follow up should I receive on.

Google acquired Duck.com when

Google Launches Another Site on a Non-.Google New gTLD

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The Google Chrome Developer Relations team announced the launch of a new website on a new gTLD domain name. Like Google’s .New domain names I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, the company is using a non-.Google new gTLD domain name.

Here’s the tweet from yesterday afternoon mentioning the recently launched Web.Dev website:

At some point, major companies launching websites on new gTLD domain names will not be newsworthy. From my perspective, Google’s usage of them is a tacit endorsement of the new extensions, and I think it is noteworthy. For what it’s worth, Google operates the .Dev registry, so it makes sense that the company would be using one of its own new extensions. This is also the case for .New.

Personally, I don’t think this moves the needle

How Google is Using .New Domain Names

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Google is the operator of the .New domain name registry (Nic.new). Yesterday morning, the company’s Google Docs Twitter account shared how the company will be using a handful of its .New domain names:

If you visit Docs.new, Sheets.new, Slides.new, Sites.new, or Forms.new, you can see a live example of how these domain names are being used.

Any time a company like Google promotes its new gTLD domain names, I think it’s a pretty big deal. Awareness is one of the most important factors in the life of the new gTLD domain names.

This is a neat shortcut, and it is neat to see Google using and promoting one of its off-brand new domain name extensions. It should also be beneficial to companies with a vested interest in the new domain extensions because more people will see and experience the new extensions.

That being said,

Duck.com Has 6 Figure Offers

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The majority of participants in yesterday’s poll about the value of Duck.com believe the domain name is worth more than half a million USD. This is not a surprise to me because of the utility of the Duck.com domain name along with the companies that could use Duck.com as an upgrade. In addition, Google owns Duck.com, so it obviously would take a major offer to persuade the company to sell its domain name.

I had a conversation with someone on Twitter who pegged the value at $10,000 – $20,000. I responded that I would pay more than $50,000 for Duck.com as an investment. In my view, animal domain names are quite popular right now, and I am sure I wouldn’t lose money in the $50,000+ range.

In response to throwing out my offer, two other domain investors also made offers via Twitter. Finlead, which owns and has owned some awesome domain names, offered $100,000 to buy Duck.com. George Kirikos, whose company also owns some fantastic domain names like 511.com, Math.com, and School.com, offered $200,000 to buy Duck.com.

Clearly, these Twitter-made offers are

No Preferential Treatment for .App Domain Names

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Google has repeatedly stated that new gTLD domain names do not receive any type of boost over .com domain names or domain names with other extensions. In a 2016 Google Hangout that Barry Schwartz hosted with Google’s John Mueller, it was stated that the keywords in the new domain extensions do not count for ranking purposes (Google supposedly ignores them).

Despite Google’s repeated reminders of this, people still seem to speculate that the opposite could be true, and that the new gTLD extensions could have a positive impact in search.

Google recently launched the .App domain name extension to much fanfare. As of yesterday, the company has sold over 210,000 .App domain names, as reported by Google engineer Ben McIlwain on Twitter last night. Without a doubt, this is one of the most successful launches for a new domain name extension.

Since the launch, I have seen

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