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Who's Who in the New Dot Brandscape - And Why Should You Care?

Jason Loyer

Let's go to the scoreboard. There are 1751 applications for new top-level domains. Nearly 1/3 (635) are brands. The rest are generics (e.g. .Buzz) and geographies (e.g .NYC).

So, brands are definitely interested in new TLDs — and a handful of major industries have jumped into the lead. If you're in any of those verticals, it's time to pay attention. Your competitors may be giving your customers new ways to reach out, learn and buy from them.

Major players are investing in .brands.

Industry landscape overview – There are a total of 1751 new TLD applications, comprised of brands (635), generics (1060), and geographies (56). More than half of all brand TLDs fall into financial and technology verticals. Furthermore, 41% of brand TLDs were applied for by Fortune 500 companies, mostly in financial services, retail, technology and transportation. (This chart is part of Neustar's new FAQs of TLDs guide. Click for more information.)

More than half of brands with nTLDs are financial or tech companies. Retail and transportation are also raising their hands. We're talking brands you know. Aetna Life Insurance. American Express. Amazon, yeah them. And we're not even out of the A's.

As you're starting to guess, larger brands have staked their claims. Fortune 500 companies own 41% of brand TLDs. Chase, Citi, DuPont, Ford Motor Company, The Gap, Honeywell… it's an impressive bunch.

Few brands have wrapped up their paperwork with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which opened up new TLD applications in 2012. So actual .brand sites are still pretty scarce. A number of brands, though, have activated their .nic sites, a first step in expanding their online presence.

This global company gets it. Everyone, take notes.

Global insurer AXA is moving ahead with its .brand site. To start, the company launched domains.axa, which walks employees, affiliates and customers through the benefits of .AXA. Insurance is an industry built on consumer trust, so AXA's take on .brands is illuminating. The domains.axa home page cites three benefits:

Protection – AXA is your trusted destination to better protect you online

Innovation – AXA is fostering innovation and digital culture

Simplicity – Simple navigation makes it easy to explore new .AXA domain names

Because .AXA domains are exclusively reserved for AXA and its affiliates, "When you visit a website with an Internet address ending with .AXA, you can be certain that it's authorized by AXA and overseen by us." In other words, you're not on a phishing site. Someone in Eastern Europe isn't masquerading as you, abusing your Social Security number and sucking your bank account dry.

Having a brand TLD makes things easier for local customers. For instance, Baltimore.axa is all about — you guessed it — Baltimore service. The "Meet the Team" page features home-town management. The customer service page lists only local contacts. No more hunting for that one little scrap of information you need.

The site urges AXA entities that want a .AXA name to contact "the AXA Web Presence team." Does your business have a Web Presence team to optimize your domains? AXA is #16 on Fortune's 2014 Global 500 list. They didn't get there by ignoring the future.

Neither will your business. To learn more about .brands, see Neustar's guide The FAQs of New TLDs.

This post originally appeared on the Neustar's Insight blog.

By Jason Loyer, Product Management Director, Registry Services at Neustar
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But how many are actually USING them? Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jul 19, 2014 10:50 AM PDT

It's one thing if companies register various domains out of a belief that they need to "protect their name", or because they vaguely think there might be some marketing gimmick they can do in the future with one or more of them even if they haven't quite figured out what, or they're hedging their bets in case one of those new TLDs becomes popular and they need to stake out a place in it. It's an entirely different thing if any of them are actually making significant use of an address in one of those domains; this is what is needed for them actually to enter the public consciousness.

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