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New TLD Application Tip: Premium Domains Can Support a Sustained Revenue Stream

Roland LaPlante

New top-level domains will quickly be upon us, and if you are ramping up to get your application ready, part of your launch plan should address what you will do with valuable keyword or generic names — what we often refer to as "premium names." Reserving premium domain names for either auctions or a Request for Proposal (RFP) process is a great way to publicize your new top-level domain (TLD), increase the domain community's awareness, and achieve initial bursts of revenue to support your business.

Choosing appropriate domains to reserve is an important first step which must be included in your application to ICANN. You should make sure that you choose names that will fit into the target market that your TLD will fill on the Web, not just generic names you think will bring in the most dollars. .ME has seen significant success since it launched in 2008, with great names like fb.me (Facebook) and wp.me (Wordpress). Choosing popular Internet brands can help strengthen public awareness of the new TLD.

You should also keep in mind which names you feel can be built into the best websites and/or garner the most marketing recognition. Having well developed and marketed websites using your domain is crucial to the success of any new TLD, but you also have to match them with owners that will build content that addresses the vision of your TLD. Allocating names like these through a formal or informal Request for Proposal (RFP) process is a proven system that allows potential domain owners to show their dedication to providing a well thought out and creative use of the name space.

Finally, having a well publicized domain auction can generate marketing and industry buzz for your new TLD and give bidders an equal playing field to express desire to own a premium domain. Whether live or online, auctions have been gaining popularity over the past few years, as evidenced by the .asia, .me and .co launches.

Premium domain names are often the public's first real impression of your TLD's brand and perceived value, so it's an important element of your strategy that can have lasting effects, both positive and negative. If you don't have a lot of experience with premium names, it is worth it to partner with someone who can help you leverage these to get the strongest start for your new TLD.

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. Visit Page
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