A third of all applicants participating in ICANN's (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) new Top-Level Domain program will come from the IT and financial services industries, according to figures released by ARI Registry Services today as the application window opens tomorrow.
ARI Registry Services is predicting more than 1000 applications will be submitted between 12 January and the 12 April 2012 deadline.
According to the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) technology provider, brands have shown the strongest interest with two thirds of all applications expected to be for a .brand new TLD. This will be followed by entrepreneurs (30% of applications) seeking to profit from generic terms like .shop or .hotel. The remaining 10% will come from governments and other groups wanting to represent their city or region online with a geographic TLD like .sydney, .paris or .tokyo.
Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services, said: "Analysis of more than 400 clients we've engaged with globally over the past year shows technology and finance companies in Asia Pacific and the US lead the pack."
Strongest interest has come from businesses in the Asia Pacific region (52%), followed by the United States (29%), Europe (10%), Middle East (7%) and Africa (2%).
"The first round of new domains will be dominated by technology brands (20%), as the IT industry recognises the huge opportunity to innovate. This will be closely followed by banks and other financial service providers (11%) who are jumping at the opportunity for the increased online security and trust that comes with a .brand domain," Mr Kinderis said.
"Now's the perfect time for brands to consider a new Top-Level Domain as part of their long-term digital marketing strategy," he continued.
Speculating on the results, Mr Kinderis said the attractive sales and marketing benefits of new Top-Level Domains has likely appealed to the IT, finance and retail industries as a way to differentiate themselves — especially important in light of the economic downturn.
"A .brand new Top-Level Domain will deliver improved trust, leadership, customer engagement and message recall by providing a direct connection between the customer and the brand experience online. The rapid growth of e-commerce and online retail also complements the move to a .brand domain name. For example, in the near future we may see short, relevant and memorable domain names such as iphone.apple, creditcards.hsbc and shoes.nike."
However, Mr Kinderis warned that potential applicants need to act quickly if they want to reap these benefits.
"There is a huge first-mover advantage for brands applying in the initial round. It's taken ICANN six years to approve this program — no one knows when there will be another opportunity to apply. We are helping our clients get a head start with a progressive digital asset years ahead of their competitors. Brands which previously had to compromise their web address can now own a relevant and targeted address with huge potential search engine optimisation benefits."
Mr Kinderis said a research report commissioned by ARI Registry Services in November found there is a low level of awareness about the program globally. Despite this, the report found significant revenue potential for entrepreneurs to own industry-specific Top-Level Domains such as .shop, .law or .hotel and commercialise them by on-selling second-level domains to relevant businesses (e.g. retailername.shop or lawfirm.law). It suggested that multi-million dollar annual returns are on offer for applicants willing to invest in a new TLD.
He noted that consumers and Internet users will see the first new Top-Level Domains appear online from early 2013, forever changing the way they'll navigate the Internet.
About ARI Registry Services – ARI Registry Services is driving innovation and the expansion of the Internet through the delivery of world-class domain name registry services. With over 10 years of experience, ARI Registry Services is a leading provider of Domain Name Registry Infrastructure Services and DNS Services for generic Top-Level Domain applicants and country code Registry Operators. We help governments, major brands and entrepreneurs across the globe realise the full potential of the Internet by providing expertise, security and reliability in operating a core piece of Internet infrastructure. Learn More
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