If you are watching the men’s NCAA basketball tournament (aka March Madness), you may have spotted a Google Cloud television commercial that highlights the company’s G.CO domain name. MarkMonitor VP Statton Hammock took a photo of his television to catch the tail end of Google’s television spot with the url:
— Statton Hammock (@StattonHammock) March 22, 2019
You can see that Google used a G.CO link shortener, G.CO/MarchMadness to redirect visitors to a landing page within the Google Cloud website.
Here is Google’s television commercial that is running during this year’s college basketball tournament, according to iSpot.TV (there may be a 15 second version in addition):
Interestingly, Google appears to have run similar basketball-focused television commercials in 2018, also according to iSpot.TV. In the different versions I reviewed, Google does not seem to have included a url of any kind. The Google Cloud branding was present, but I assume the producers felt people would probably do a Google search to find more information and obviously Google owns that search.
Here are two of the commercials from this campaign that ran in 2018 and are reportedly discontinued:
I think it is telling that Google felt the need to add a url to their commercial. I also think it is interesting the company chose its G.CO shortener rather than an alternative domain name with Google branding more prevalent. What would have surprised me more is if the company used something alternative like MarchMadness.Google, Cloud.Google, or a non-Google new gTLD domain name. Statton mentioned .Basketball in his tweet, and it looks like Google is the registrant of Google.Basketball, although the domain name does not resolve. According to 101Domain, .Basketball domain names will be available for the general public to register soon.
This could have been a good time for Google to highlight a new extension, and I think it is interesting that it chose G.CO for the March Madness audience.