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.chat.
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, Public.com is a domain name that is owned by Anything.com, and the company does not sell its domain name assets cheaply. It looks like PublicChat.com 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.