Obama has been known to use domain names to go after emotionally charged empty words that are easy to support (like change), but now the government is going after commercial keywords like cars.
Cars.gov was launched on June 30th and is already ranking #3 in Google for cars!
What does it do to the value of cars.com when cars.gov is a co-opted business deal between the government and select auto companies (which the government may have confiscated some of your money to prop up and is now propping them up again via rebates and direct marketing to compete directly against you once more)?
Who has a link network large enough to compete with the United States government when they are at the core of what Google considers to be the clean & trustworthy parts of the web? In 2007 Matt Cutts stated:
But, certainly, all of the things that have good qualities of a link from a .edu or a .gov site, as well as the fact that we hard-code and say: .edu or .gov links are good – and when there are good links, .edu links tend to be a little better on average; they tend to have a little higher PageRank, and they do have this sort of characteristic that we would trust a little more.
Read that part in bold again. 😉
Imagine launching a 1 word domain name late into 2009 in a multi-billion dollar field and ranking it above the fold in less than 2 weeks. The government just did that. And they can do it at will. Over and over again. For free 🙂
Now if you invest in a big keyword rich domain name you not only need to worry about Google and the market, but now you have to worry about how the government might start competing against you.
What might happen to the value of mortgage.com or credit.com or health.com when the government launches the equivalent government portals co-sponsored by whatever relevant multi-billion dollar corporations pitch the idea to a congressman from their district?
If the equivalent .com sites are thin arbitrage sites they will gain value as misdirected visitors stop by. But longterm the trend has to corrode value of domain names. If they are real sites they may lose out by finding themselves below the fold for their own brand if the government pushes hard enough.
Once politicians realize the value of domain names how long will it be before there are .gov domain names for every aspect of life? Diet.gov anyone? Are you ready for love.gov?
More: continued here