Yesterday morning, I shared an interesting Facebook post written by Sahar Sarid discussing the decision to use ABC.xyz for Google’s new Alphabet holding company with some of his thoughts. This morning, Sahar shared additional insights and thoughts about Alphabet and the decision to choose ABC.xyz for the website.
Sahar gave me permission to share the entire post that he published on Facebook today. I know that some people do not have Facebook accounts (or they use them for personal things rather than business discussions), so you are welcome to post your thoughts and comments here or or directly on the Facebook post.
This is a follow-up post in a series of posts examining Google’s new Alphabet name, what it means, what it tells us, how they come across. Agree or disagree? comment below.
With Alphabet, While Google was driven by serious Anti Trust allegations in creating this new structure, from branding perspective, they tried to come across as unconventional, young, edgy, and experimental. I don’t think it works. I think people ultimately will see through it, and I think they whole branding aspect can be described in one word: Fail.
Let me explain.
1. Alphabet: I find it hard to come by another word that is as bas as Alphabet for Google, a word that borderlines totalitarianism, like Mega Corp or World Domination. While the word “Google” was cute when it was first introduced, “Alphabet”, with a combination of their initial blog post “G Is For Google”, implies ownership of every letter in the alphabet. This is completely counterproductive to the whole series of unfortunate events that got Google to be in this sad position to restructure their company (more on this in the next point). It basically says to the world that we are indeed a monopoly or at least, striving to be one by owning everything.
2. Timing: The timing of this whole restructure falls five days prior to EU anti trust investigation deadline given to Google. This basically says this was not an innovative move but more of a cowardly move to try and game the system before it’s too late.
3. Hooli.XYZ reference: In their blog post the founders dropped an Easter egg and linked to Hooli.XYZ, what is known as the fictional startup in Silicon Valley, a TV series. Myself as the rest of the world are not familiar with the show and my only point of reference is the tech dominated Silicon Valley elite, a group of people who dominate the tech world. For a company who literally dominate much of the tech world to link to a fictional startup with same sorts of ambitions, I don’t think it adds up and again, the message that comes across is of elitism, not entrepreneurship, experimental, unconventional, or what not.
4. Bumping into BMW: Google knew that the domain Alphabet.com, the one that the world will look up once they make their announcement, would be looked at. They also knew that once they make the announcement, the owners of Alphabet.com, in this case BMW, would suffer the consequences. Those consequences are vast, from web traffic issues crashing their servers, losing their brand identity, suffering confusion, and more. But Google had never reached out to BMW to inquire about the domain, they just went their own way and did whatever they wanted to do. What that caused is dozens of articles by now covering the BMW ownership of Alphabet.com and Google’s lack of consideration to other brands when choosing a new brand to work with. Here, they again don’t come across as innovative but rather dangerous, inconsiderate, selfish, and arrogant.
5. Choosing .XYZ: The registry is operated by Daniel Negari, a brave entrepreneur and a fellow domainer who took a bet on a new extension. Daniel is a controversial figure in the domain business with dozens of negative articles about the way the .XYZ registry had handled domain registrations, most notably the Network Solutions .XYZ domain name giveaway and the way the registry grows its numbers. In addition, the XYZ registry itself is in a fierce lawsuit with Verisign, the company which operates the .Com registry. By going with .XYZ, Google has placed themselves right in the middle of these ongoing issues where there’s so much unknown and things can go south very quickly, either due to legal issues or because how the registry operates. Additionally, the XYZ registry is an aggressive marketer which likely not in line with how Google carries itself. This can again backfires as the registry may sometimes push the boundaries far more than Google’s comfort (EG: acceptance of questionable content, spam, linkbaits, phishing, etc).
By the late registration of Alphabet.XYZ which was purchased only last week we know for a fact this was not a thoughtful naming process. Google put all this together in a very short time, almost as if they didn’t have naming or branding experts helping them put it together. Or maybe, as my theory goes, we’re dealing with eccentric billionaires who could just care less about their partners, shareholders, or consumers.