[update: .app registrations have surged past 168,000 according to the latest nTLDstats figures]
Google’s .app has caught the imagination of registrants with close to 125,000 registrations after 2 days of general availability. It is likely it already had the largest number of registrations prior to GA, around 17,000, and it’s initial GA launch is likely the largest of any of the new gTLDs.
The .app new generic top level domain is the fourth of Google’s open TLDs to launch, and easily the largest. The others are .how, currently with 2,024 domain names registered, .soy with 1,231 and .みんな (.everyone) with 1,181 according to nTLDstats.
The .app TLD has been specifically for apps and app developers, with added security to help showcase apps to the world – it’s the first TLD to have enforced HTTPS. Google is touting a memorable .app domain name as being easy for people to find and learn more about one’s app. A .app domain name can be used as a landing page to share trustworthy download links, keep users up to date, and deep link to in-app content.
A key benefit of the .app domain is that security is built in. The big difference is it is also included on the HSTS preload list, meaning that HTTPS is required to connect to all .app websites, helping protect against ad malware and tracking injection by ISPs, in addition to safeguarding against spying on open WiFi networks. Because .app will be the first TLD with enforced security made available for general registration, it’s helping move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future in a big way.
Google’s .app went through the usual Sunrise period for trademark holders and then a 5 tier Early Access Program that was available to all at premium prices, but at each tier the registration fee got progressively lower. Each tier lasted one day except the fifth that lasted 3 days. A claims period for .app domain names will run indefinitely, during which trademark owners will receive notification when their marks are registered as domains. It is already the 31st largest of the new gTLDs.
Google, to date at least, paid the third highest amount for a new gTLD string. The largest was Verisign, in effect through Nu Dot Co, paying $135 million for .web followed by .shop which GMO Registry paid $41.501 million for .shop then Google’s .app which cost them $25.001 million.
Coming up next for Google is .dev, however launch plans haven’t been released.