NameCheap passes GoDaddy in one Google search race

More fallout from SOPA fiasco? Or is it more about Google?

namecheap

The search-engine and domain-name crowds are chewing over a tasty tidbit of industry news this afternoon, namely that the registrar NameCheap has vaulted ahead of market leader GoDaddy by one potentially telltale measure: Google search results on the phrase "domain name."  

GoDaddy, as you probably know, had been most notorious for its egregiously sexist advertising campaigns before earning eternal Internet infamy late last year with its initial support of SOPA, the ill-conceived antipiracy legislation that would eventually go up in flames.  

Whether that SOPA misadventure and the Google search stumble are in any way connected is a matter open for discussion, but it would be difficult to argue that such speculation is unwarranted. Apparently first to spot the Google ranking change was Elliot Silver, who writes on his domain-name news and tips blog:  

According to the Google Adword Keyword Tool, tens of thousands of people search for the term "domain name" each month (just under 100,000 searches). Go Daddy is the largest domain registrar, with tens of millions of domain names under management, and NameCheap is on its way to 3 million domain names under its control (check out the company's 3 millionth domain registration contest).

I am not sure when this happened, but NameCheap has overtaken Go Daddy in Google for the key search term, domain name. Both companies still trail the Wikipedia page for that term, but it's certainly a major boost for NameCheap to be listed ahead of Go Daddy. A search of the plural "domain names" shows that GoDaddy is still outranking NameCheap, with both companies trailing Wikipedia.

While some commenting at Hacker News have noted that Google search results vary by user for a variety of reasons, my results for "domain name" and "domain names" were the same as Silver reported.

And at least one commenter there believes the change has more to do with Google than either of the domain registrars: "Google has been testing some pretty major algorithm changes in the last 5 or so days. Everything has been extremely volatile and major SERPs are changing every few hours. ... Not buying this as a long lasting rankings change until it sticks around for several weeks."

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