On October 15th, Google launched .Soy, its first generic top-level domain (gTLD) in the United States, and it caters to the country’s Hispanics. The domain’s homepage, www.iam.soy, touts .soy as the domain name for Latino identity and expression on the web. With the U.S. Hispanic population now around 54 million, 17% of the total population and growing, it makes sense to offer a domain targeted at Hispanics. Google’s goal for .soy, Spanish for “I am” is to offer Hispanic consumers, brands, and publishers a place to build, create and share culturally relevant content.
Several organizations have already made the jump to a .soy domain, including The Hispanic Heritage Fund, Ella Institute, and Latism. Other companies such as Webs, which helps people create an online prescience, have also acquired a .soy domain because of the opportunity to reach more Hispanic-owned businesses, which are growing at nearly twice the national rate. Even individuals like Isabel Ann Castro, a graphic designer from San Antonio, Texas, have converted their websites because it better captures the nature of her site and who she is.
While .Soy’s launch has seen some success, it isn’t without any backlash or detractors. Some people on Twitter have poked fun at the domain extension, noting it could be confused for one that appeals to vegans. Meanwhile, other ethnic groups have also complained on social media as to why Google hasn’t created other domains to appeal to them. It’ll be interesting to see, as domain extensions continue to grow, just how targeted they can become; they have been all the rage in the past couple of years, from some that make sense (.app, .book) to the more creative ones (.pizza, .ninja); some are certain to never catch on. There actually is another gTDL, .Uno, that launched earlier this year aimed at Hispanics, but it has been received with relatively slow adoption. Only time will tell if the .soy domain really resonates as well with Hispanics as Google hopes, or if this was just a miscalculated attempt.