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Google now treats .io as a gccTLD (support.google.com)
274 points by joshmcmillan on May 6, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 122 comments

260 days ago I posted a webapp I made on HN, listing all of the available remaining .io domains in order of most common words -- with 2, 3, 4, and 5 letter columns. It was completely free, but it got one upvote I think? The site is currently down, but if there's interest I can put it back online.

Alright, I just submitted it to HN (page 2 of the homepage now). All I ask is if you think it's useful, upvote it :)

Here's the discussion, to save others a few clicks: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5663793

Thanks for doing it (and putting it back online). Really useful if you're looking for a quick .io inspiration.

Please do.

I just generated a list of all the 3 letter scrabble-legal .io domains available (4 letter domains are going as we speak). Any interest?

http://pastebin.com/37WFgSKv and http://pastebin.com/mjzvwiBF if anyone feels like browsing.

Please bring it back.

Some time ago I was trying to register an .io domain - but my bank would not allow the transaction because fraud :(

I still want one...

There's also http://two.vg, they don't list .io domains though.

Do it.

It's tough to get traction on HN for certain things. Also, if you think about it people don't want other people to know what domain names are available "just in case".

There are currently 26 three letter words/common acronyms left. List available here for a small fee http://andio.herokuapp.com

Posting the same comment 4 times trying to sell a list is just ridiculous.

One comment was enough.

Yeah, it was probably a little much. The site has been up for quite a long time and I thought it might useful given the circumstances. Should I have linked to it more than once? Probably not.

Processed the Scrabble dictionary for all 3-letter words acceptable in U.S. Club and Tournament Play as of 2009.

Among which 283 are available .io domains:


That's lame - $20 for this list? What's the likelihood one can actually register one of the 3 letter domains for a typical reg fee and not some huge cost?

Here is one list of short .io names:


and here is another:

are.io bow.io cot.io cry.io dew.io dip.io dye.io ear.io egg.io fee.io fry.io had.io hem.io hid.io hut.io jug.io lid.io lie.io lip.io men.io mop.io mow.io oar.io ore.io pit.io rag.io ray.io rib.io rid.io rot.io sod.io toe.io tow.io tug.io was.io won.io yaw.io

I did not bother to verify availability.

This is from a few minutes ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5663917

Ha you beat me to it.

Just a note: That list may be out of date. I see my domain (fry.io) on there, and I registered that a good few months ago :p

Not sure why it's lame for it to cost $20, is it because you could build it yourself?

ALL domains available on all TLDs should be listed freely.

Charging for access to information like this is deplorable. Just because you can does not mean you should.

Did you know their rules state: "No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any Nation."?

The laws of ANY nation?! I founded a UGC .io startup in 2007 (we were the biggest .io site for quite a while), and while we never had any trouble, I find that clause worrisome.

I don't know how to feel about this. I've commented many times before, warning others about the .io domain and the consequences they'll face with ranking on Google. Now that won't be a problem. But let's face it, .io will never be as 'accepted' as .com by Billy Customer, and now squatters have a reason to go buying them all up, so good luck grabbing one for a techie startup or niche.

> .io will never be as 'accepted' as .com by Billy Customer

It's seemed to me that all the uses of .io so far are precisely for sites only developers will have any reason to visit--software libraries, B2B SaaS, etc.

You people and your TLD purity...

Railing against re-use of small countries TLDs is the 2013 version of writing "Micro$oft".

Don't worry, soon enough the .fart vanity TLDs will be coming online and we can complain about people using those instead.

While I agree that .io will likely not be seen the same way .com is by your average customer it may not be that much of an issue if Google starts ranking .io domain names highly in search results. Which is how many people choose what sites to visit or buy from.

It requires something about the way we conduct ourselves to change, at least.

I remember reading about how Japanese advertizers would use Google queries in ads instead of URLs - and we in the West did little to improve on that with QR codes - so it's possible that there's a place for .io somewhere. I just think it'd be a really bad idea to use them interchangeably with .com domains.

I guess the same can be said of .co domains, which look like typos to the average person, when they aren't used as shorturls.

> I remember reading about how Japanese advertizers would use Google queries in ads instead of URLs

That's happened in the UK as well, though (in my experience) more often with video adverts (e.g. movie trailers) than print advertising. It began with stuff like "AOL Keyword: harry potter" (was it "keyword"? can't remember, was definitely AOL), and mostly died after that, but have seen it with Google a few times.

And on the flip side, you seem to suggest that QR codes are a western thing - actually they were invented in Japan, and are much bigger in Asia than over here.

I see "Internet Search: 'model xyz'" in a lot of car ads. Easier to remember than a URL and shows off how good your SEO is ;)

> I remember reading about how Japanese advertizers would use Google queries in ads instead of URLs

This is probably because it's hard for the Japanese to correctly remember web addresses, since they're in the Latin alphabet. By having them remember search queries instead, this problem can be easily avoided.

Like it or not, Google is merely reflecting the obvious reality that most .io domains are not specific to the tiny island territory.

I'm not sure typical non-technical users have any idea what the TLDs mean, or pay any attention to them at all.

Many users just type website names into google or their location bar, not paying any attention to the URL at all. Or, actually type the _hostname_ into a google search box, not realizing what a hostname/URL _is for_.

Sort of surprised .ly is missing. Maybe related to the conflict over there, because it was/is pretty widely used by startups

I thought that as well.

Also, I can't think of any .ms sites yet that is listed there. Even a google seasrch of site:.ms doesn't seem to show up anything that sticks out... maybe a few music related sites using it as the 'music' tld?

Yeah, it's not widely used. I use oh.ms as my personal/geeky tiny URL site.

.ly is still controlled by Libya.

nic.io must be tickled pink. Queue the land grab!

In other words, I'm not sure this is a good thing or sets a good precedent. I understand the rationale as they're just reacting to what the industry is doing (I'm looking at you GH) but I imagine we'll see more of this in the future.

I say all this as a (legitimate) .io domain holder.

Somewhere there is a bailiwick just waiting for the crafting community to jump all over it.

Yeah, my thoughts exactly...

I've got to think that they'll see a pretty big influx of .io registrations today & over the next few days, I'm sure they're thrilled.

I also have the same reservations too, though -- although I applaud the reaction & speed, a big part of me wonders if it's really best suited for decisions like this.

What happens when some other TLD needs to be re-categorized the same? Where does it stop?

Is there any precedent to Google removing a domain from their 'gccTLD' list?

That'd be more scary / have a bigger potential impact on people I'd assume -- although I suppose they could just 'tweak' the TLD to not rank quite as high without doing as much publicly like this perhaps...

I'm interested in your relation to the territories, if you don't mind me asking?

I meant that I have a domain name that I'm using for a legitimate service that I purchased knowing that it wasn't a gccTLD. My "legitimate" comment was specifically related to the influx of squatters we're about to see in this space.

I believe it's also a good preparation for the domain extensions that'll be releasing out in the wild later this year. There's hundreds in contention. It could heavily factor into Google's "Did you mean domain.com?" handling where they assume you searched incorrectly for an alternate gTLD, cTLD, or ccTLD in some cases.

The precedent was already set when Google created the concept of gccTLDs with .fm, .nu, .tv, .tk, .ws, etc.

Just recently these names were still available while checking names for a project: feature.io, using.io, edges.io, advan.io, gains.io, plain.io, dest.io and nippy.io. I haven't checked if they were still available as of today so YMMV.

I've been tracking three letter word .io domain names for almost 2 years now and there has definitely been a recent spike in registrations.

> Queue the land grab!

The use of the word 'cue' in this context is really dead, isn't it?

I assume we're doing the land grab once we've sorted out all the other important things we've got to do first :)

Good on you. Got me to laugh on a Tuesday morning when I've been neck-deep in troubleshooting Redis.

Wow, someone at Google finally successfully championed the cause! Thanks to whoever you are if you're reading this.

May I know what does it do to be in the gccTLD list? Does it changes something for those website?

It means that Google will treat it as a worldwide website, as opposed to being country-specific. This means that .io domains are more likely to show up in US search results, and will no longer be given priority in "the British Indian Ocean Territory"[1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.io

It means that it's treated the same as a .com and no longer treated as an Indian Ocean-specific website I believe.

I've always thought the .io is much better than .co .co seems too much like a miss-spelling of .com

I'm surprised nobody has pointed out that this is not an official announcement from Google. It is merely an updated KB page.

Google is treating .io as gccTLD for at least 6 months.

Where did you get "6 months" from?

I own .IO domain and I was able to set it as gccTLD in Google Webmasters Tool for at least last 6 months (but not when I registered it more than 2 years ago).

Not to mention my .io domain ranks quite well for my keywords across all national google front-ends for quite some time.

What's the attraction of the .io domain? Seeing it crop up in many places and I'm not sure what the significance is.

I've just assumed that it tends to imply 'technology' via the long-existing term "I/O" [input/output].

Even the businesses that that use it and are less tech-heavy in business model tend to be web- and/or mobile-first type companies from what I've seen...

In addition to the "techiness" of io, a lot of the draw has been availability. They've been going at $50/yr for a while, which has kept the squatters away. Last time I looked, there were a plethora of three-letter English words available.

I jumped in in 2009, and basically had my pick of 2-letter domains.

There are less than 40 three letter word domains names available now. http://andio.herokuapp.com

$20 for the results of bash one-liner? (by my count there are far more than 40 left)

    for i in `egrep '^[a-z]{3}$' /usr/share/dict/words`
      whois $i.io | grep -q '\- Available' && echo $i.io
Heck, there's still a few two-letter .io domains left

    for i in {a..z}{a..z}.io
      whois $i | grep -q '\- Available' && echo $i

But, yeah, I agree, .io choices are getting a little thinner than they used to be.

Yes, $20 for you is too much, but there are lots of people who have no idea how to do a bash one-liner (me being one of them actually).

I worked on this project a while back and posted the list for free for over a year, not sure why it's a sin to charge money for it now.

Selling the remaining list is quite a smart idea. it obviously has value even though it would be relatively simple to figure out the remaining free domains on your own.

True, the task is not very difficult if you have a list of words to check against. If you're time to create your own list takes more than $19 of your time then its probably of some value to just buy mine :)

People treat it as though the io stands for input/output (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input/output).

I have yet to see an input/output related .io site

redis.io ?

sockets.io? aspen.io?

Just off the top of my head.

I hope prices stay "high"; maybe $55+/yr is enough to keep the domain squatters in check to some extent.

.io prices are coming down rather quickly. Gandi.net sells them for $40 apiece, and I wouldn't be surprised if it became available for half of that with some sort of promotion. I'm waiting to grab one when that happens.

Damnit, I just paid $72 three seconds ago, before reading the comments.

I paid close to $100 about a year ago... though renewal will be less...

Well I bought three today @55/each. So don't kick yourself too hard.

I think prices for .com/.net should go up too. Too many domain squatters and advertising-only domains. If it was $50 a year, some good names might become available for real businesses.

Or just regular registration. I have near 100 that I registered with good intention. Then I get distracted and later I'll look at my list and be amazed at the quality of the names I have. Nothing that I could sell for much, but that would be great memorable names for a service or company. They're so cheap that it's no big deal (at least in bite size chunks), but the truth is I'm locking it up for an entrepreneur with the time and motivation.

Same here. I had over 50 at one point, some short, some clever... and just in the past couple of years turned off auto-renew for many of them...

I wouldn't mind them staying/back to around $100 for initial registration, and half that for renewal.

Excellent. I'm prepping to launch http://rss.io and worried that the .io domain would kind of kill its discoverability in search results. Really happy to see this, as I'm sure many others are, too, who are using .io domains the same way.

Maybe people will want to take tele.io and newsies.io off my hands now (half kidding but seriously, email if you're interested :)).

Great domain name and I love the header on the site. Love that you are willing to put this out there with placeholder text still in place. Why not right!

Wow! They actually listened. Who would have thought..

Google, .im is missing from the list. Should have been treated almost equally to '.me'.. and .me got it's gTLD status right from the start.

I can't think of anything that uses .im, what am I forgetting?

well, if it doesn't seem to be adopted by a prominent start-up (yet), doesn't mean that the extension is not popular for it's obvious non-geo "I am" meaning. It is one of those novelty extensions and Google should also allow webmasters to choose whether to treat it as gTLD or as a micro state of 'Isle of Man'.

I'm amazed at how fast this was done, seems like only weeks ago several people suggested this.

It probably helped that every Github Pages site started going to username.github.io. I'd imagine a variety of repositories became harder to find, which'd be noticeable at Google HQ.

Based on their reluctance to put Google Code out of its misery, its sometimes hard to believe they might be aware. :)

It's a good thing they don't "put Google Code out of it's misery". There are millions of sites using jQuery hosted on Google Code.

I doubt https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.mi... would go away if Google Code did.

I think it would be better if google would let webmasters just tell them if you want them to treat your domain as gccTLD or not. I had some cool ideas for .mx, but if they want to treat it as Mexico-only, then what's the point of buying one?

Maybe I finally do something with my .io domain (or the countless .com domains I have registered)!

My .io has been hosted on GAE since the start. I wish GAE would support naked domains. http://www.macch.io/

Actually you can direct macch.io to www.macch.io. Iremember doing it for one of my domain which was hosted on AppEngine.

I'm curious how the average consumer (non-tech audience) views a .io domain.

I'm planning to build a consumer facing site and use .io as it's an easy way to get a decently good domain, but I don't want to scare people off with the domain.

I've been using it for jobboard.io for around 8 months and have only had one customer ask me about it. To be fair I don't know how many people are NOT using me because they don't get the domain and are simply moving on. In the long run I don't think it's an issue as most people CNAME their own custom domain for their job boards anyways.

To me, .io brings to mind just another junky spam site.

Interesting. Years ago I wanted to do a side project and ended up acquiring the "words.io" domain name. I was also able to snag the wordsio.com as well to avoid some confusion.

Maybe this will get me to actually do something with it.

Mark this day next year to check for good expired .io domain names :-)

+~3 months for the grace period to expire.

Would really like to see this happen with .ly domains too.

That's great! I'm guessing that a lot more startups are going to use a .io domain now since there are a lot of good domain names available.

Currently available as-of-this-moment 3-letter .io domain names:


I just bought a 2 letter .io.

At the time of this comment, there are only 2 left.

This is pretty cool, I have been a huge fan of .io domain names for a long time. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to sell a, checked daily, list of the available three letter domain names for $19. There are currently 40 three letter word domain names left, there are a couple common acronyms like CST.io that are available too.

If interested http://andio.herokuapp.com

EDIT: was.io and mph.io have been purchased since posting this comment, now 38 left.

I was shocked to see 'hey.io' was just bought today.

Yeah, there are some really interesting words that have been available way longer than I thought they would be.

If you are no longer selling the list, can you show it on your site? When you say 3 letter domains, are you referring to dictionary words or any random 3 letter?

Still selling the list. I meant it was unsuccessful because only 6 people bought it :)

I mean english dictionary words and common acronyms, not random 3 letter combinations.

Is there any way to register an io domain without your address and phone number showing up in the whois information?

Try gandi.net. They offer free whois privacy with registration and their prices on .io domains are VERY good. One thing you will have to do is let your credit card company know about the transaction as the charge will come from France and will be flagged as fraudulent (at least that was my experience with AMEX).

Thanks, gandi looks nice. However, their domain privacy page doesn't mention anything about .io domains. Does anyone know if they offer whois privacy with .io domains as well?

I use Gandi for a load of domains (they're great!) and have just bought an io one through them but sadly there isn't much whois privacy apart from hiding your email address. Name, postal address and telephone are all visible. I think this might be a .io requirement though since Gandi offer whois protection for free. You just enable it on your contact record and any domain linked to that contact will then use Gandi's data rather than yours. Depending on the tld this means either everything is masked apart from the owner's name (e.g. for .com or .net) or only certain fields are (as determined by the various registries and each one's policy on hiding real owner info).

This has inspired me to buy another .by domain, just on the offchance...

Hmm.. might be a good time to put my translation.io domain to good use.

What will the SEO effects of this be to existing .io site?

I imagine that the previous localization results for .io will be scrapped. This means that .io domains will now rank as high as .com/.net etc.

Thank you Google!

Hipsters win

so what?

You can buy the list of 30 remaining three letter words/common acronyms for $19: http://andio.herokuapp.com

I'm sure you could do this yourself but why waste $19 of your time :)

There were 40 left about 2 hours ago, so far these domains have been purchased in the last 2 hours: was.io, mph.io, lie.io, avg.io, cum.io, ear.io, era.io, hwy.io, shy.io, sox.io

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