Up&Ap: Shayan Rostam on the rise and rise of dotXYZ domain


Many in the domain industry were surprised when Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, chose .xyx (dotXYZ) for its online identity – that is abc.xyz – instead of settling on other existing domain extensions like .com or .net. However, the new unconventional domain was already popular with organisations even before this feat – it was already being used by UMake.xyz (the most popular app for iPad Pro), Gomma.xyz (the portal which showcases works by artists and photographers) while Starship.xyz (launched by Skype’s cofounders for their new robotic delivery technology) and Milk.xyz (a pop culture site that rebranded from Mi.lk) went live after abc.xyz. But how did dotXYZ come into being?  XYZ, the firm behind the dotXYZ domains, was developed from the “the idea that you end the alphabet with XYZ why not end domain names the same way” according to the US-based firm’s founder Daniel Negari.  Here now is the dotXYZ story as told by Shayan Rostam, XYZ’s Global Director of Registry Operations…
Q: Who are Daniel Negari and Shayan Rostam?
SR: Daniel Negari is the CEO of XYZ and Shayan is the Global Director of Registry Operations. XYZ is the registry operator of the world’s most popular new domain extension, .xyz, as well as .College (dotCollege), .Rent (dotRent), .Security (dotSecurity), .Protection (dotProtection), and .Theatre (dotTheatre). Through a joint venture, XYZ also offers .Cars (dotCars), .Car (dotCar), and .Auto (dotAuto). The mission of XYZ is to bring choice, flexibility, and innovation to the domain namespace for internet users worldwide.
(TOP: Shayan Rostam in a blazer and partially covered ‘xyz’ t-shirt. BELOW: Homepage screenshots of Alphabet Inc – abc.xyz – and Maybe* – maybe.xyz). 
Q: What was your motivation for getting in the internet domain business?

SR: Daniel originally wanted to launch a domain extension after learning about an individual who had acquired the ccTLD .WS from West Somoa. Since Daniel, myself, and several other members of the XYZ Team have backgrounds in the real estate industry, becoming a registry operator was a natural fit when ICANN announced the expansion of the internet landscape through their new gTLD program.

Q: Why did you pick .xyz – instead of say .abc – during ICANN’s new gTLD round in 2012?   
SR: .xyz is one of the only domain extensions that can be identified by any language, since the letters X, Y, and Z are universally recognized as the last three letters of the Latin alphabet. .xyz also does not have a literal meaning or connotation, so it gives end users the flexibility to create any kind of presence they desire, rather than being labeled by an industry, location, or other niche. In other words, .xyz is what YOU make it.
Q: You’re also the operator for 5 other strings  – .College, .Rent, .Security, .Protection, and .Theatre. What has been the uptake of these other top level domains compared to .xyz?
SR: We actually operate 8 other strings. In addition to the above five, we also operate .Cars, .Car, and .Auto. All of our domain extensions have seen excellent adoption. For example, institutions all over the world, such as Midwestern.College, are securing their .College domains for recruitment, athletics, campus organizations, and other purposes. .Rent domains – especially premiums – have been a popular choice for innovative real estate businesses, like Patch.Rent. And earlier this month, the groundbreaking IBM Watson-powered self driving vehicle was launched on MeetOlli.Auto.
Q: The .xyz domain received a lot of positive press when Google’s holding company Alphabet picked it for its online identity. How has the number of .xyz registrations been impacted by this development, have they increased or stagnated?
SR: Having abc.xyz as an enduser is a great success story. However, .xyz was the most popular new domain in the world even before they launched. There are many cool businesses and individuals using .xyz, such as Starship.xyz, which was launched by Skype’s cofounders for their new robotic delivery technology, UMake.xyz, the most popular app for the iPad Pro, and Milk.xyz, a pop culture site that rebranded from Mi.lk. You can see more .xyz use cases at www.gen.xyz/live or check out our weekly #Website Wednesday blog posts.
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Q: Apart from Alphabet Inc, which other major corporations and organisations have taken up the .xyz domain since you launched it in mid 2014?
SR: In addition to Starship.xyz, UMake.xyz, and Milk.xyz, some other big end users include Deloitte – Exponentials.xyz; Gadget Magazine – GadgetDaily.xyz; Fathom – Fathom.xyz; Maybe* – Maybe.xyz; Feed Communications – Feed.xyz and Rise – Rise.xyz. You can see more .xyz use cases at www.gen.xyz/live or check out our weekly #Website Wednesday blog posts.
Q: In a previous blog post, Daniel stated that he and his team are “marketing .xyz for next generation businesses…” In your opinion and looking at current tech and innovation trends globally, will such businesses be based in the developed West or developing parts of the world like Africa?    
SR: As the go-to domain for next generation of internet users, .xyz is not just for one part of the world. The next generation of internet users includes businesses all over the world, apps and innovative technologies, and young adults and individuals in emerging internet markets. .xyz  is for every website, everywhere. With internet usage still growing exponentially worldwide, we no longer talk about just the US and Europe. Emerging economies are a remarkable rising tide for the internet industry. This is especially true in areas like Africa, which have extraordinarily young populations when compared to the established western-dominated internet. That’s why it’s no surprise that .xyz is the most popular new domain in African countries like Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, and Kenya.
Emerging economies are a remarkable rising tide for the internet industry. This is especially true in areas like Africa, which have extraordinarily young populations when compared to the established western-dominated internet. That’s why it’s no surprise that .xyz is the most popular new domain in African countries like Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, and Kenya.
Q: In the same post, Daniel stated that “Over the next 30 years, .xyz will reign supreme as not only the #1 new domain extension, but eventually as the NUMBER 1 domain in the world.” Can you support this statement with some figures please?
SR: The global community we are cultivating around .xyz, coined “Generation XYZ,” is growing very quickly. All of the innovative use cases by international businesses and innovative entrepreneurs highlighted earlier have been developed in just 2 years of .xyz’s launch. As more and more people and businesses come online, they will need domains. And as an affordable, flexible, and intuitive domain ending, our retail partners regularly report to us that .xyz is one of their most popular new domains. As a result of the marketing, awareness, and support we provide, The Domains reported earlier this month that .xyz has passed .info as the 4th most popular generic TLD in the world after .com, .net, and .org. We look forward to continuing our growth from there.
As a result of the marketing, awareness, and support we provide,… .xyz has passed .info as the 4th most popular generic TLD in the world after .com, .net, and .org.
Q: In a previous ICANN meeting, one of the journalists present noted that internet domains, and URLS, would soon be a thing of the past as people are more comfortable using mobile apps which don’t require users to remember and key in domains to access various websites. Is this true or not?
SR: We believe the opposite is true. The prevalence of mobile devices requires MORE short domain names for easy navigation. Domain names that are long, difficult to remember, or not fully visible on the screen of a phone will be upgraded for something shorter and more memorable. In regards to mobile apps – they need websites too. We’ve seen numerous using .xyz, including UMake.xyz, Voter.xyz, Throne.xyz, Sling.xyz, Maybe.xyz, DoTell.xyz, and FlyStay.xyz, to name a few.
Q: Your parting shot?
SR: Many of our retail partners are celebrating .xyz’s 2-year anniversary right now. Visit your favorite registrar’s website to see what they’re doing until the end of June, or visit www.gen.xyz/2 to learn more.