CentralNIC: Powering the xyz to Google's abc


Windfall: CentralNIC stands to reap huge profits from Google's sudden and rather arbitrary decision to use the .xyz domain for its new company, Alphabet.

Ben Crawford was asleep 12,000km (7,500 miles) from Google Inc's Mountain View, California headquarters this week when the Internet giant unveiled its new face. 

Crawford, chief executive of London-based CentralNIC Group Plc, woke up in Sydney to learn that the domain powered by his company – .xyz – would host the website of Google's new company, Alphabet Inc. 

Google registered abc.xyz as Alphabet's website because alphabet.com is owned by German automaker BMW. 

"I read it and I was amazed," said Crawford, whose company's shares have soared almost 50% since Google stunned the market with the announcement of its reorganisation on Aug 10. 

Companies such as CentralNIC provide the technology that powers the registry of domains sanctioned by ICANN, which oversees the introduction of new Internet addresses. Since 2014, ICANN has been introducing hundreds of new so-called top-level domain addresses, such as .London and .sex. 

Google's move to use .xyz is a strong endorsement of these new domains that give users more choice and flexibility as the Internet grows bigger. Registrations on the .xyz domain have increased by more than 27,000 since Google's announcement, according to ntldstats.com. 

CentralNIC is the exclusive wholesaler for .xyz, by far the most popular of the new domains. It was created last year by 29-year-old Daniel Negari, ICANN's youngest registry operator. 

Companies like CentralNIC sell these domains through retailers such as GoDaddy Inc and MarkMonitor, a company owned by Thomson Reuters Corp. 

Google bought the rights to abc.xyz from MarkMonitor, which registered the address in March 2014. 

CentralNIC will get a share of the annual subscription that Google will pay to keep the website. Crawford declined to say how much his company would make off abc.xyz. 

Premium top level domains, such as sex.com and insurance.com, typically sell for hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in privately negotiated deals. 

For instance, we.com was bought by Tencent, China's largest Internet service portal, for US$8mil (RM32.22mil) earlier this month. 

"I don't believe abc.xyz was anything like that amount, but in terms of how much a domain name can sell for, that's around the top of the range," 50-year old Crawford, still on holiday, told Reuters on Aug 13. 

"I guess that's the message that Google wanted to get across: that Alphabet is the Internet business of the future." — Reuters

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