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Is finals.afl the Most-Viewed .Brand Domain Ever?

Corey Grant

If you've ever visited or spoken to someone from Australia, there is a good chance you've heard of Australian Rules Football. Those who are followers of Australia's most popular football code are often politely described as 'fanatical', with hundreds of thousands of followers attending games each weekend during the southern hemisphere winter.

The game is run by the Australian Football League (AFL) who acquired the .afl extension in 2012 and have become one of the more prolific and trailblazing users of their .brand Top Level Domain (TLD). For this year's finals series, the AFL used www.finals.afl to promote the games and associated events, including the Grand Final which had attendance of over 100,000 people.

Attendees for the finals series games alone are over 700,000 people. Apart from visibility to those attending the games, www.finals.afl was exposed to millions via ads on television, radio, social media, and out-of-home advertising.

As a long-time advocate for the .brand movement, this was really impressive to witness. Even more impressive was the signage inside and outside the stadiums that contained the domain name — it was absolutely everywhere and those of you in the industry will know what I mean when I say that this was an opportunity to show my family what I actually do for a job!

When Amazon ran its 'Build-on' campaign using www.buildon.aws in a campaign that included ads in airports, train stations and other outdoor media, we thought that was pretty impressive. Similarly with the French train system manager SNCF using www.oui.sncf as its new customer portal for tickets and assistance.

One other interesting aspect of the campaign was the use of "finals-dot-afl" in radio advertising. Those who heard the ad reported how natural it sounded in the context of the rest of the script, helping to reinforce the message and provide an easy to remember call to action.

We may never be able to prove one way or another which .brand domain has been placed in front of the public the most times. One thing is for sure though, finals.afl enjoyed millions of impressions in front of a die-hard audience over this four week period and for now, I think it's OK to give it the cheeky interim title of 'most publicized .brand domain name to date'.

Let's see how long it takes for a global brand to become the challenger!!

By Corey Grant, Senior Industry Consultant at Neustar Corey is part of the Registry Services team at Neustar, based in Australia. Neustar is the largest registry services provider by number of TLDs and are leaders within the ICANN community in policy and governance. Visit Page
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finals.afl doesn't show up at all in Kevin Murphy  –  Oct 19, 2018 12:41 AM PST

finals.afl doesn't show up at all in the top 1 million domain lists provided by Alexa or Umbrella today.

Redirects are an effective .brand strategy Corey Grant  –  Oct 20, 2018 1:41 PM PST

finals.afl is a redirect, not a standalone site. Like newsroom.apple and app.google, the AFL used finals.afl to drive customers to content on its main site afl.com.au. This is a common and highly effective strategy employed by most .brands, which provides a short, memorable pathway to content on a main site in order to pass on all the SEO benefit. For those interested, more information can be found here.

Unless I'm misremembering how Umbrella works, it Kevin Murphy  –  Oct 20, 2018 2:25 PM PST

Unless I'm misremembering how Umbrella works, it tallies DNS requests. So it would notice redirects too, right?

t.co is also a redirect George Kirikos  –  Oct 24, 2018 4:39 AM PST

Corey: Twitter's t.co domain is also a redirect, but has an Alexa Rank of 43 (globally) at the time of this post, see here.

So, a domain name used as a redirect would still show up in the Alexa rankings, if it had sufficient traffic. Since finals.afl hasn't shown up in the top million, that demonstrates the point Kevin and I made.

Beat me to it, Kevin George Kirikos  –  Oct 19, 2018 2:52 AM PST

I was just about to post the same, Kevin! It might be the biggest .fail in new gTLDs history, if the Alexa stats are accurate and it had so much promotion.

But, AFL.com does have Alexa data (still not in the top million according to https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/afl.com but it does have a rank of 59,046 in Australia — just a parked domain). AFL.com.au does get much higher traffic, though, according to Alexa.

Try "SNCF" in Google Jean Guillon  –  Oct 20, 2018 3:07 AM PST

French hit that keyword. See what happens.

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