Automatic,, the company behind WordPress, has acquired the rights to sell and register the .blog domains for 19 million dollars. What is odd is that WordPress is not even a hosting company (if we discount WordPress.com). What is going on and how does the acquisition fit into the company’s business model? And more importantly: What percussions can we expect for the internet community?
Before you jump to conclusions, rest assured: If anybody wants to use .blog, no WordPress.com account is necessary and your website does not have to run on WordPress. In fact, your site does not even have to be a blog.
What are TLDs anyway?
The .blog domain is a so-called TLD (Top Level Domain). That is the suffix of your domain name, i.e. the highest ranking domain level.
Back in 1984 there existed only a handful of generic TLDs: COM, ORG, EDU, NET, GOV and MIL. Very quickly these original TLDs were not able to cater for the rising number of registrations. It became increasingly difficult to register a .com domain that was not already taken. In 1998 the “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” (ICANN) took over the management of the Domain Name System and gave way for new TLDs such as .biz, .travel or .club. However, the popularity of the .com domain remained unbroken (and made it the most expensive).
WordPress and the .blog domain
With its origin as a blogging platform it makes perfect sense for WordPress to acquire the rights for the .blog domain. But that is not the only reason.
According to WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, the company bought the domain to prevent Google to restrict .blog only to blog sites. That is exactly what Google did with Blogspot in the past.
Matt thinks that in the first year alone more than 250.000 people will register the domain. And millions more in the years to come. Thanks to its connection with WordPress, Matt believes, .blog will become more recognizable.
Who should get .blog?
Needless to say that it makes only sense to get the domain if the site is a blog to a greater or lesser extend. It is a good decision for a personal blog with your own name, e.g.”HansHuber.blog”. Since the domain just arrived on the market, you stand a good chance to get one for your own name. Something that might not be possible with a .com.
But big companies could profit, too. They could “outsource” their blog to a .blog domain. This method could become familiar practice since it makes it easy for internet users to search for a company blog. Just add it to the name of the company and you get there: For example “www.Acme.blog”.
Like I said at the beginning, the site does not have to be a blog. According to Google, sites with the new domain are not treated differently to the rest when it comes to search results.
Registration and costs
On November 21 .blog goes up for sale. You can secure your domain beforehand until November 9 for a fee of 220 dollar plus the price of the domain. That starts at 30 dollar and goes up according to its popularity. Trademark owners get dibs to their name first.
PS: Matt Mullenweg leads the way with his own site. Here is his matt.blog.