New .app Domain Names – Should I Care?

December 14, 2018

There are over 1,500 top-level domains (TLDs) to choose from in 2018. The .app TLD is a relative newcomer. What’s it for, and should you care?.app domain name logo

What’s a .app domain name for?

The .app domain name is designed to appeal to organisations who wish to promote one or more of their apps.

Back to basics: what’s an app? The word “app” is an abbreviation for “application.” It’s a piece of software that can run on a PC, smartphone, tablet or other electronic devices, including smart TVs and smartwatches. Apps may or may not need a connection to the internet to be fully operational. It’s typically used to describe anything that isn’t a full-fledged software program, but even that line has become blurred.

Who’s behind the .app domain?

Google. They first made available .app TLDs in May 2018.

Do I have to own a .app domain name to promote my app?

No. You could use your existing company website. Or just the relevant app stores (Android, iOS). It’s entirely up to you how/where you choose to promote your apps. There’s nothing technically special about a .app domain name. Apart from the SSL thing, which we’ll comment on later.

So if I don’t have to, why should I?
  1. Brand protection. If someone else registers a .app domain name in the name of your app, would you care? If you’re a massive global brand like Sony or Nike or Google you can probably afford to purchase every TLD with your brand name in it. But with 1,500 TLDs and rising, the rest of us undoubtedly have to be choosy.
  2. It really screams “I have an app!”. It makes you look like a serious player (because you are!). It increases the chance of your app being found in the search engines when someone searches for an app that does what yours does.
  3. It’s focused. Sure, you can and should promote your app on your own company website, if you have one. But when you’ve got a TLD for this specific purpose, you can get much more granular and laser-focused on promoting and supporting your apps – testimonials, reviews, FAQs, etc.
  4. Other popular domain names (like .com) are already registered.
What’s that you say about SSL?

An unusual requirement for .app domain names (compared with other TLDs) is that the website you host on it MUST have a valid SSL certificate, and must always make use of it. This forces your website to be secure in the sense that any digital interactions with the site are fully encrypted, end-to-end. If someone tries to visit the insecure ‘http’ version of your site, then it must auto-redirect them to the secure ‘https’ version. This is known as Always On SSL (AOSSL). The good news is that SSL certificates are now free, and making AOSSL happen is relatively trivial.

Example of some websites using .app?


How do I register a .app domain name?

Google offer up a search function on their .app website to let you see if your preferred .app domain name is available, and suggests various domain name registrars who you can register it with. Alternatively, chat with your local trusted web/digital agency and ask them to register it for you.

Ross Ross Gerring