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Dot Brand - Is Financial Industry Really Leading the Pack?

Guillaume Pahud

Can we assess who is leading the new dot brand gTLD?

There are lots of emotions and hypothesis around the new gTLD programme. Is it a success, is it a failure? Is it coming too late, in a world ruled by search and apps? We try to measure that success through traditional metrics, such as number of registrations, parking ratios etc. — for applicants, the success is quite often the revenue and profit generated. When it comes to dot brands, we have lots of anecdotes about launches, but is that representative of the activity? Metrics of success will depend on the brand strategy and the way the dot brand helps the business reach their objectives. Keeping an empty registry may be a success if your strategy is purely defensive!

Here we demonstrate, in a very condensed way, that a smart use of data can provide great insights about dot brand activity. The dot brand observatory (https://observatory.domains) is capturing and analysing an extensive set of data to provide a 360 degree view of the dot brand landscape: we look not only at domain name specifics, but also at the actual websites that are being created making use of dot brand domains. We have captured a large range of data including their SEO efficiency and traffic.

Early April we counted 596 dot brand applications. 336 brands were delegated and 138 dot brand had more than 2 domains.

These 336 brands created 2354 domain names, and we were able to look at 2284 of these domains.

The split per vertical is represented on the following chart, where the size of the boxes in the following chart corresponds to the relative volume. 662 second-level domains were created by brands from the financial industry, and 210 by media companies and 204 by automotive brands.

Dot Brand vertical breakdown (Click to Enlarge)

So is financial sector industry really more active?

75 brands from the financial sector applied, out of which 41 were delegated early April, representing 55%, compared to a global ratio of 56% of delegation within dot brands.

20 brands have more than one domain, or 26% of the applicants.

So there are is the same ratio of "skepticals" or "defensive" brands in the finance industry as in the other sectors.

Now if we look at these brands who have launched, we start to see a trend:

The average number of "active" brands in the financial sector — i.e. brands with sites that can be browsed and that do not respond as an error or a redirect — is of 16, with a total of 143 active sites and 94,000 actual html pages crawled by google. The numbers compared with the average are therefore as follows :

FinanceAll dot brandFinance versus average
Delegated brands compared to applicants55%56%Equivalent
"Present" brands compared to applicants26%23%Equivalent
"Active" dot brand compared to applicants21%12.5%Significantly higher
Number of "active" sites per active brand8.95.5Significantly higher
html pages on Google per active brand5,875928Much higher

"present" brands are the brands that created more than just the mandatory "nic.brand" site.

There is no major difference in the ratio of sceptical, defensive and waiting brands between the financial sector and the rest. But from the above table, we see very clearly that the financial brands who decided to embrace their dot brand, did so much more boldly, creating or transferring many more pages than the average.

Did the active brands create highly efficient and engineered sites?

If we look at the average SEO score (a ranking representing the quality of the site and its content from a search engine perspective) we see that the average score is 55/100 globally, and only 47/100 for finance, which is globally low. There are 50 sites with a score above 70. 18 of them come from the finance industry. The ratio of well developed websites versus total number of sites is 12% irrespective of the vertical.

Financial brands have not tried to optimize their pages more than the other industries.

But from a customer traffic standpoint, all of the dot brand websites ranked in the 100,000 most visited websites in the world by Alexa are in the financial world, and half of the "top million" Alexa ranking comes from that same industry.

That would tend to show that these 16 brands have transferred more of their high volume and high traffic sites into their new dot brand portfolio than the other brands.

The detailed analysis of every one of these sites shows us that the brands have transferred what we call "core sites", that are rich websites, corresponding to the core business of the brand. Citic, Shriram, Bradesco and BNPParibas and Pictet have all launched new gTLD dot brand sites that deal with their core business.

They also launched "value added websites" that are not core to the business but that are linked to specific campaigns.

So, is the financial industry ahead?

There are a number of companies within the sector who are leading the way. All are on a journey, and as with any business sector there will be those who for many different reasons may not be moving as quickly.

It is perhaps unsurprising though that the finance sector is one of the key first movers in the dot brand space, it's a sector made up of businesses where concerns about security and the creation of consumer trust are high and the common brand structure is one of a core single brand, rather than multiple brands. All of which leads financial institutions to being more able and willing to commit to serving core services through their dot brand. So it is more likely business imperative, rather than desire to simply be first, that is driving this uptake and will make the institutions and the sector stand out from the crowd.

Further data from across the whole dot brand TLD space are available at https://observatory.domains.

By Guillaume Pahud, CEO
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Tracking financial new gTLDs Jean Guillon  –  May 16, 2016 10:04 AM PDT

We believe that new gTLDs related to finance in general make sense (new domain names ending in “.trade” or ".finance", instead of “.com” for example). We report on new domain name extension registration volumes related to finance here. Update is every Tuesday

Financial new gTLD versus dot brand Guillaume Pahud  –  May 16, 2016 11:33 AM PDT

Thanks Jean - indeed, the business of banks has totally been transformed by the internet, and the purpose of bank counters has nothing to do with what it was 20 years ago. Finance now faces another disruption with innovations such as blockchain.

An example... Jean Guillon  –  May 16, 2016 1:49 PM PDT

...of blockchain?

blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin. It Guillaume Pahud  –  May 17, 2016 2:05 AM PDT

blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin. It is actually really a way to control and validate transactions. A bit far today from the new gTLD and dot brand, just to mention that banks are really thinking a lot about the future..

TopCoin ? Jean Guillon  –  May 17, 2016 2:19 AM PDT

A Registrar I use gives me "topcoins": is it the same?

topcoin Guillaume Pahud  –  May 17, 2016 1:19 PM PDT

Yes, topcoin uses the blockchain technology. It replaces the ledgers and the big books.

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