Sometimes domain name registrations can be leading indicators of a company’s future plans. Domain names can also be registered for protective purposes, preventing other people from registering and using them first. We don’t always know why a company registers particular domain names, but I find it interesting to observe domain names that large companies register.
This morning on Twitter, Jamie Zoch reported that Target registered several on-brand domain names related to Coronavirus / COVID 19 testing. For instance, Target registered TargetCoronaTest.com, TargetCovid19Test.com, TargetCovidTest.com, and TestingAtTarget.com:
Target Brands registers several covid test related domain names, potentially hinting at a near future store testing offering? pic.twitter.com/KAI0pWPBgV
— Jamie Zoch (@DotWeekly) March 24, 2020
It looks like Target is planning to offer in-store Coronavirus testing in partnership with several other large companies. On Target’s corporate website, the company set up a page discussing Target’s coronavirus response. Within that page, it discusses the possibility of in-store COVID-19 testing:
coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in select retail locations
In partnership with Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Google and others, Target is working with the federal government to provide public access to additional coronavirus testing. We’re currently working with officials and task force partners to identify real estate that can serve as temporary testing locations, and will share more details as they are available. Up-to-date information about how Target is supporting our guests and team will be posted here.
At which store locations will you offer testing, how will it work and who is eligible?
We’re currently working with officials and task force partners to identify select Target real estate that can serve as temporary testing locations, and on the specific testing details. We’ll share up-to-date information as soon as it’s available.
How many testing kits will be available, and when?
We’re continuing to finalize details, including specific timing and the duration that temporary testing locations will be made available, and will share up-to-date information soon.
It’s very smart for companies like Target to secure their branded domain names before others register them. There has been quite a bit of misinformation shared either intentionally or accidentally. Controlling on-brand domain names like this is a smart way to prevent others from registering and misusing them.
My guess is that Target will probably not set up individual websites on these domain names, but the company could easily use them for forwarding. Hopefully there will be more widespread testing available in the US in the near future.