Startup With $2m in Funding Launches on .Chat Domain Name

I was reading Techmeme this morning where I learned about a new startup called Public, which was written about in Variety. Before reading the entire article, I hovered over the first mention of Public to see what domain name they are using for this venture. Interestingly, they chose to use a new gTLD domain name for its website:

Public was founded by Avner Ronen, an experienced Internet entrepreneur. Here’s how the Variety article described what Public is and does:

“Public, which launched with an iPhone app and website Friday, can best be described as group chats with an audience. A few active participants chat with each other on a topic, be it “Game of Thrones,” a sports team or “Black Arts & Literature.” All these discussions happen in public, allowing anyone to follow them in real-time or read up on them later. And chats can be embedded on other websites as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.”

It  is neat that the company chose a .Chat domain name because it matches what the startup is doing. One thing I found interesting is that  the Variety article didn’t make any special note of the .chat domain name, so perhaps that is a sign that the new domain names are in the mainstream enough that this doesn’t need to be explained (just a thought).

The .Chat extension is operated by Donuts. I reached out to Donuts’ Andee Hill to ask about the domain name, and she said “Public.Chat was not a registry reserve or a super premium name.” I could be wrong, but judging by a Whois search and historical Whois records at DomainTools, my guess is that the domain name was acquired privately as it had been registered in 2015 to a registrant in Croatia. The domain name is currently privately registered.

On the other hand, is a domain name that is owned by, and the company does not sell its domain name assets cheaply. It looks like is owned by another entity. I wonder if the startup was interested in either of these two alternative domain names.

Variety noted that “Public raised a total of $2 million at the end of last year.” Perhaps it will become one of the most visible startups operating on a new gTLD domain name.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. The term “chat” has become very passe compared to what is used to be. I’m not happy about that myself.

    >”so perhaps that is a sign that the new domain names are in the mainstream enough that this doesn’t need to be explained (just a thought).”

    I would like to think that myself, but my opinion is that the opposite is true – they are so clueless they don’t even realize that it does have to be explained.

  2. I agree, honest truth until I read this article I didn’t even know a dot chat existed, neither does 99.99999999% of the population.

    Also yes, passe term to a degree and the idea itself imo is crap, $2M is nothing and I would bet against this play and based on funding it appears most would.

    If anything they did good by not buying the right domain.

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