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2017: The Year of dotBrand

Roland LaPlante

With over 600 "dot Brands" applied for in 2012, and hundreds now launched, 2017 seems poised to be the Year of dotBrand!

"dotBrands" are top level domains (TLDs) that use the brand name to the right of the dot, as in www.mabanque.bnpparibas or www.home.cern. Many large companies across nearly every industry applied, including Google, Amazon, Citibank, VISA, McDonalds, Sony, HBO and Alibaba.

While most of the dotBrand applicants had no idea in 2012 what they were going to do with a new TLD just for their brand, many applicants are now hard at word either executing plans or formulating their plans.

Coming into 2017, I'd break the dot brand applicants into 3 major buckets:

  1. Still Planning (or Ignoring) — these are the brand TLDs with just the mandatory nic site up and running, and includes brands like .UPS, .FERRARI, and .DELTA.
  2. Trial Phase: These are brands that are testing it out and gaining experience by releasing reports at their dotBrand, or running a program at a dotBrand. Some of these are redirects. These brands are adopting a responsible and conservative approach as they build internal confidence in this new tool. Such brands include .PWC, .CIPRIANI, and .ICBC.
  3. All In: a growing number of major brands are seriously leveraging their new virtual real estate, including .BNPPARIBAS, .CERN, .ABBOTT, .MONASH (and many others). They have already achieved notable Alexa rankings for some of their second level names. These are the true dotBrand pioneers, and others should observe their progress and learn.

Of course, a few dotbrand applications were withdrawn as too much time passed for approval.

Given the expanding use, it may be helpful to reiterate the benefits of a dotBrand. dotBrands offer tangible and important benefits unavailable in generic addresses. dotBrand TLDs offer 1) complete control over who has a name and what they do with it, which reinforces brand trust online; 2) security benefits that finally deliver a protected space on the internet that your customers can have complete confidence in; and 3) future proofing via unlimited address space dedicated to your brand (critical for IoT brands).

The Next Round? Most brands were left out of the last round and many want a chance to level the playing field. That's why there is a growing pressure on ICANN to open a new round for the "have-not" companies. As the current dotBrands succeed, we can only expect this pressure to build in 2017. The ICANN community, however, has other priorities than helping corporations, so no one should expect a new round this year. Rather, 2017 will provide great opportunities to watch some brands begin to realize the full potential of this significant new online option.

* * *

Watch the video below for further discussion on why 2017 is the Year of the dotBRAND:

By Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Afilias. An expert on new TLD development, LaPlante is an original member of the management team at Afilias and has over 30 years' senior marketing experience building brands at companies like Procter and Gamble, Citibank, and McGraw-Hill.

Related topics: Top-Level Domains


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Great article Sara Vivanco  –  Aug 21, 2017 12:50 PM PDT

Roland, you wrote an amazing article about dotBrands.
I'm sure you're already informed about the conference Brands & Domains which we're preparing in The Hague from 2-3 of October? We will talk about many topics that will be really interesting for your clients.

If you want more info, drop me a note!

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