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The 5 key Benefits of a Branded Top Level Domain - According to the Brands Themselves

Guillaume Pahud

In early 2012, in order to promote Choice, Competition and Innovation, ICANN opened its doors to allow organizations to apply for new Top Level Domains. In spite of a complex and costly application process, ICANN received a very large number of applications: In total, 1,930 applications were received, of which 675 were brands applying for a closed new gTLD, a dot brand.

Some of these brands have dropped off, but around 560 have a signed contract with ICANN to operate their dot brand in a closed fashion. Around 200 of these brands have created second level domain names in their dot brand space.

Dot brand framework

It is possible to categorise the process that dot brands adopt as they populate their registries under three types or frameworks. These frameworks are not mutually exclusive:

Only 10 brands have yet shifted their core sites to their new branded Top Level Domain, most brands are actually focusing their Top Level Domain on redirects or minisites. Details of the frameworks, and the list of every dot brand and TLD can be found on the dot brand Observatory.

This article looks at the benefits brands themselves have identified when launching their core site on their branded domain name extensions.

* * *

Core domains activation usually are supported by a press release

Brands rarely use press releases to communicate about their domain name strategy. In the first results of a google search for "domain name press release" all come from the domain name industry and actually the first brand that appears is Canon, in 57th place, with their press release concerning the launch of dot canon.

Further investigation reveals that when it comes to launching their main core websites on a new Top Level Domain name extension, seven brands out of ten actually issued a press release. The exceptions are CERN, BNPParibas and Citic.

The 7 are:

Bradesco even explains in detail what TLDs are: http://banco.bradesco/dominio/

5 dot brand advantages cited by brands in the press releases

Innovation

Sandvik are proud to say they are "one of the first companies in the world to do so". Weir also says that the new branded gTLD is an innovation, and that they are "one of the first organizations to launch". It says they are using "an innovative solution in the digital world".

Security

Barclays mentions that their new domain name will "add an extra layer of security for customers", and that the programme "ultimately serves to increase trust and confidence."

Pictet says: "it will be seen as a benchmark for websecurity."

Sandvik is very specific, mentioning "the new top-level domain will serve as a extra guarantor" and fight against the fact that "it is not uncommon for the websites of well-known companies to be copied"

Canon talks about "authenticity and be reassured that the information they contain is reliable."

Sener says the new TLD "will also function as a security guarantee for users, who can browse safe in the knowledge that any page with the .sener domain belongs to the SENER group."

Customer experience

Bradesco hopes that the customer experience will be helped by "practical, intuitive, memorable URLs" (translated from Portuguese)

Barclays says their new TLD aims at "streamlining customer experience."

Pictet mentions "simplify the online user experience."

Canon says their new brand Top Level Domain will help "simplicity."

Sener says that the TLD will provide "better organization" of their content, and that they will provide "more meaningful content that can be adapted to meet their requirements."

Weir wants to continue grow and develop their sites in the branded domain name extension space "to make it better for our customers."

Branding

Pictet mentions branding benefits via their new dot brand domain extension.

Weir wants to "reinforce our brand and provide more flexibility" via their Top Level Domain name.

Marketing efficiency

Bradesco also hopes that their TLD will help them reduce the dependency on search engines: They mention that: "The people access experience will improve when using shorter addresses and that lead directly to the pages that they want to reach, without having to go through a search engine, for example."

Sener says "top-level brand domains enable search engine results to be more accurate." They also think their new gTLD will be used on mobile. Their press release mentions that the new Top Level Domain "allows SENER to remain at the digital forefront in terms of usability, safe browsing and the possibility of finding relevant and reliable content from any device."

3 brands say that the previous domain name will be redirected to dot brand: Barclays, Pictet, and Sandvik. Canon does not use the wording redirect but shows an arrow from 'canon.com' to 'global.canon'.

Bradesco mentions that Bradesco.com.br remains valid.

Conclusion

The early movers are activating their dot brand TLD in order to generate clear benefits: security, customer experience, branding, innovation and marketing efficiency.

The list of press releases for major launches also shows an acceleration. Two brands had issued such information in 2015, and since Feb 2016, major dot brand sites are launched ever month!

Learn more on observatory.domains and dotstories.com.

By Guillaume Pahud, CEO
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Related topics: Domain Names, New TLDs
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