Sahar Shares Additional Thoughts About Alphabet

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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.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Simply thought ABC is one of the few terms that Really suites .XYZ nothing Machiavellion about it and I am sure the choice would have been a thoughtful naming process albeit with many a smiling face.

  2. Almost sounds like he’s offended they went with xyz. I’m sure they gave this decision a lot less thought than people think. Like it or not domains are not a big deal to most people.

  3. Just to clarify, they can do whatever they want. Obviously, they do whatever they want. These events have an effect on all of us, from domain investors in .Com to new registry operators and new GTLD investors. What I’m trying to do is to understand these things so I can better invest myself in the future. There’s no doubt a .XYZ is worth more today than last week, but what led to it, how does it all play out, was it smart or thought out process and this whole thing has legs or it has no strong foundation and can lead into trouble, confusion, IP issues down the road? and how do we all take lessons from this into the future? It’s just a constructive discussion, nothing more and nothing less. I happen to also have another angle that works very well for .Com owners, that is, most brands who play around with alternative extensions tend to upgrade. Most of our sales over the years were due to upgrades. Also, the fact that Google put the attention into the URL bar, that’s new. For two decades now they’ve been trying to make the URL as obscure as possible but now it’s in the spotlight again. That’s not bad for domaining in general. Either way, life goes on, it’s worth discussing, imho.

  4. “we’re dealing with eccentric billionaires who could just care less about their partners, shareholders, or consumers.”

    All of this overthought and the truth comes down to the last sentence written.

    So much hype by everyone in this industry about them using a .XYZ. It’s such bullshit. They used it to stick the middle finger up to everybody because they are a couple of eccentric guys that wanted to cause a stir because they can. It’s pretty obvious with the link to Hooli.XYZ

  5. I wonder if folks (on both sides) are reading too much into the selection of this domain name. It does not appear that Google spent a lot of time or effort in picking the domain name. If it reflected a well-considered strategy, it would have been secured a long time ago.

  6. 1) Less than 35% of the global population use the Roman / Latin alphabet..

    2) In many of the national alphabets there are no X, Y or Z. e.g.
    There is no X in the Polish or Turkish alphabets
    There is no Y in the Romanian alphabet
    There is no Z in the Icelandic or Swedish alphabets
    There are no X or Y in the Slovenian or Italian alphabets
    There are no X , Y , Z in the Irish, Scott Gaelic or Hawaiian alphabets.

    3) In EVERY non English language XYZ are pronounced differently and with a different accent.
    .
    To summarize: Less than 10% does not make it “global, international, worldwide”

    • Is your 65% of non-English alphabet users including India?

      If so, quite disingenuous. Indians speak English almost as good as native speakers. They have no problem using the latin alphabet on the computer (those that have access).

      It’s also random as hell that you bring up Icelandic and Swedish as they both speak English fluently. Not to mention – who the hell in Ireland or Scotland only speaks the ancestral tongue and not English??

      Lastly, when we even do involve China … QQ.com, baidu.com, etc … hrmm, all look like latin letters to me.

      You are twisting stats to suit your own needs.

  7. Google had to do something in regards to EU anti trust investigation. Unfortunately they haven’t spent enough time and resources to find a right and reasonable step and their quick move is simply wrong. Very wrong. Starting with name Alphabet, ending with choosing a XYZ extension. They have really screwed it up. Now they are trying to find a language to cover this shit, but many won’t buy it. There is a very high chance that Alphabet is not the final name of the umbrella company. And surely their next choice of domain name won’t be .xyz, but .com

  8. According to Politico today Sahar may not be correct on his anti-trust take:

    GOOGLE’S CHANGE UNLIKELY TO AFFECT EU WOES – As details and implications emerge about Google’s reorganization to Alphabet, it’s looking like the changes won’t have an impact on the company’s legal battles in Europe.

    “A company does not insulate itself from a competition investigation through a change in corporate structure,” European Commission spokesperson Ricardo Cardoso told POLITICO Europe’s Zoya Sheftalovich and Nicholas Hirst.

    The move also won’t reduce any exposure to antitrust fines in this case, though it could if any future cases come up.

    More takeaways here: http://politico.pro/1Jbx6Gq

    • Of course they would. For example, if the EU is successful at getting a judgement to break up Google (unlikely), it won’t affect NEST or others now, would it? What the EU is about is bundling and anti competitiveness due to cross promotion of Google’s products. Now that they have unbundled a significant part of it, it complicates things allot. Even if it doesn’t change the past and what was done already, part of Google’s future defense now is they can claim they are addressing these bundle issues but being pro-active. But like you said, I think the EU sees clearly through it and will squash those attempts. While I believe for us in the domain business when this announcement was made we pay allot of attention to naming, I believe when EU officials saw this announcement for the first time they clearly through Google’s attempt to play games with the EU, and will fight accordingly.

    • The political climate will be changing in the U.S. in 2016. Google has had a lot of cover from this administration in my opinion. What is transpiring in Europe may be a precursor to potential antitrust litigation for them here in the U.S.

  9. As far as I am concerned, I believe Google’s attorneys would be involved in the registration process and would not want to get their hands into any legal mess.

  10. Google is trying to be Everything. Most of this strategy has not gone well.

    Like all things on the Net, even the biggest most powerful companies eventually get too big and they lose sight and focus on the core business that made them a success, and they start to falter and fail.

    Here today. Gone tomorrow…….

  11. Google, Inc made this move, primarily, to enhance its stock price with growth numbers commensurate with revenues generated by its prime properties (i.e., ads), and not encumbered by the costs associated with the passion projects/moonshots such as driverless cars, quantum computing, life extension, satellites, etc

    As per marketing, Larry & Sergey detest marketing. They didn’t even hire anyone to do marketing until 2001. Per “naming” and using “brand consultants”, this is something Google does not do. It’s a tech-centric company.

    I doubt Larry & Sergey spent much time coming up with the name, similar to when they first named their company “Back Rub”, then changed it to Gooogle, then Google. Maybe their first idea was “ABC”, and that led to alphabet, but of course the .com was taken.

    The main point: How many consumer actually will click on abc.xyz (until they acquire alphabet.com from BMW and they will — for an undisclosed price — why does BMW really did Alphabet.com or its trademark)

    Alphabet, Inc, although now the parent company of Google, Inc, really is more like Bell Labs of AT&T

    Google will move the needle on the stock market, NOT Alphabet. I’m surprised it took Google this long to even consolidate these pet ventures – Nest, Boston Dynamics, Calico, Loon, Deep Mind, et al — but then you have a product that is generating $millions per hour — why change?

    Well, they made the change.

    Google may now become the first company with a $Trillion market cap, if Apple doesn’t beat them to it —

  12. Also would like to point it that I don’t think this move, namely to form holding company, Alphabet, Inc, has anything to do with the EU anti-trust actions.

    Google, Inc. is facing allegations of anti-trust due to its dominance in Search and increasingly, MOBILE via Google’s Android platform.

    The so-called Alphabet ventures, i.e, namely, Nest, driverless cars, Deep Mind, Loon, Calico, Boston Dynamics, and others, including but not limited to cancer research, gene editing, satellite imagery, solar, wind, etc, have generated minimal or no revenues and have minimal traction in the EU.

    The EU is going after Google Inc products (Search, Mobile) — for now. In 10 years, if Google has driverless cars running BMW, Audi, Porsche, Fiat, off the autobahns and routes, expect another charge of Antitrust against Alphabet, not Google, unless GoogleCar is part of Google, Inc.

    • In answer to why? Ok millions of successful .Coms will add their domain names to the .Xyz extension. Plus millions more will buy first time domains. Also it is very important to note that SEO will be getting great results with the .Xyz according to Google.

    • >”Also it is very important to note that SEO will be getting great results with the .Xyz according to Google.”

      So you’re saying that Google has announced that .xyz domains will be receiving some kind of special treatment in search? Is there any other way to interpret what you just wrote? Can you verify this or am I the only one who is not aware Google has made any such announcement about SEO and .xyz?

  13. I humbly believe that these people like Larry Page and Daniel Negari not have the mindset of most mortals, so make things possible, and they do not think the impossible. When google was born, his prognosis for success was almost impossible, yet now it is one of the world’s biggest companies. I write this because I believe that the comments reflected here talk about a certain logic and the market is not 100% heuristic reasoning. Here it is important that these billionaires guys, not their money is supporting one another in support of his great ideas. They may have more millions than you, but they have endless ideas. That’s what makes the difference.
    To be more frank I think many of the field teammates have missed the opportunity to be of good names. XYZ and that’s what bothers much more that we can do analysis.

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