Google buys the entire “.app” domain for $25 million

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By Larry Banks

Google has just paid a cool $25 million to buy the entire “.app” top-level web domain. Google decided to apply for new top-level domains (TLDs) back in 2012, which was four years after ICANN, the organisation which controls all the world’s domain names, decided to offer a much wider choice of generic TLDs.

Google owns dozens of domains

At the time, Google applied for dozens of generic domain names such as .docs, .android, .free, .fyi, .foo, and .app, and many of these are now controlled by the Internet search giant.

ICANN has since been auctioning off the different domains, in what can sometimes be a very competitive and expensive bidding process (for example, Dot Tech LLC spent $6.7 million on the “.tech” domain last year, supposedly beating out Google, which also bid on the name).

Google App Domain
The winning bid of $25,001,000 secured Google the .app domain name.


Amazon also bought “.buy” for nearly $5 million and “.spot” for $2.2 million in late last year. It’s not yet clear precisely what the company plans to do with those domains, but “.buy” is obviously focused around e-commerce and online shopping.

These investments make Google’s $25 million investment in “.app” look fairly expensive, as it’s the most that any company has paid in ICANN’s auctions so far.

Google already lets people register for “.how,” “.soy,” and “.minna” domains on its own ICANN-accredited domain registry. The tech giant plans to be the registry for the top-level domains “.dad,” “.here,” “.eat,” and “.new,” and “.app” soon.

Although Google hasn’t yet announced any details plans for the new .app domain, the purchase could give the company more flexible and create ways to promote apps, as more and more search takes place on mobile.

Google is also helping developers promote apps in new and novel ways. For example, the company announced this week that it will start testing search ads in the Google Play Store.

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