It looks like we have our first Coronavirus-related UDRP filing. It appears that Google has filed a UDRP against the GoogleCoronavirus.com domain name at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), according to UDRPSearch.com. It is case #1888606. Because NAF does not report the name of the complainant until the decision is published, we can only assume the complainant is Google.
For several years, there has been discussion about Google downplaying the role of domain names and their importance. To an extent, domain names may be less important than they once were, greatly due to search engine changes and advances, but they are still essential and play a crucial role in navigation, brand marketing, email deliverability, connectivity, and other aspects related to web presence.
One concerning development for domain investors has been Google’s de-emphasis of domain names over the last several years. Some examples of this include former Google search team leader Matt Cutts’ comments about keyword domain names, Google’s using the navigation bar for searches, and Google’s removal of domain names in mobile searches. It has appeared that Google would like to reduce the importance of domain names, and that would obviously impact the value of domain names to some degree.
For several months, Google has been excluding domain names from the majority of its search results. Instead of prominently displaying a website’s domain name, Google has generally been displaying brand names / website names and favicons to help users better identify the websites they were visiting. I thought this had the potential to be confusing, but it looks like domain names will be making a comeback on Google search results page:
Presenting site domain names prominently 🙌🏼 https://t.co/PATbim2sXe
— Doron Vermaat (@doronvermaat) January 14, 2020
I saw an article on TechCrunch that caught my attention. A startup called Digits announced that it raised a $10.5 million Series A round of funding. A quick check of the domain name showed that it is using the high value, brand match Digits.com domain name for its business.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) November 6, 2019
Google is the company that operates the .App domain name extension. On the Google Developers Twitter account earlier this week, the company posted a link to a YouTube video where the founder of a startup called Fluz discussed why he chose the Fluz.app domain name for his business.
In the video, the founder mentioned two options that were initially considered: Fluz.com and FluzFluz.com. Fluz.com is listed for lease via Venture.com. FluzFluz.com was registered by the Fluz startup, and it forwards to the company’s Fluz.app website.
The video seems at least partially like an infomercial for .App domain names, but assuming the founder is genuinely sharing his rationale for why he chose .App, I think it’s worth a watch: