Can Your Brand Afford to Not Have a dotBrand?

By Roland LaPlante
Roland LaPlante

Are these web addresses for real?

annualreport.axa
innovandconnect.bnpparibas
study.monash
play.samsung
m.sohu

An emphatic YES! In fact, more than six hundred brands have applied for their own dotBrand (a new top level domain associated with a trademarked brand). These represent every segment of our economy: banks, tech companies, media, food, luxury goods, etc. Quite a few dotbrands have already gone live.

The current application period is closed, but the next round will likely begin in 24 months or so. While 24 months may seem a long time, ramping up a dotBrand effort across the company will take all of that time. We know, because we provide back-end service support to many dotBrand applicants, and most of them need help from experienced, professional experts.

If you missed round one, you likely now have competitors who did apply, and when they launch, you will find yourself in a different competitive situation. So NOW is the time to assess whether your brand should apply (indeed, whether you can afford NOT to apply) when the application period opens again.

Grab the Significant Benefits

I have discussed the significant marketing opportunities dotBrand brings along in a previous blog:

dotBrand is really THE digital future of bigger brands. While the benefits are significant, as expected, they come with costs.

Be Realistic about the Costs

Owning a dotBrand will make you a "registry operator", and this role is not simple or inexpensive. Here are a few illustrative costs:

Bottom line: While the branding aspects of running a top level domain clearly belong with your brand team, the complex administrative and compliance aspects are generally outside of your core strengths. There are significant hard costs and soft costs involved — financial, people, technical.

The 600+ plus brand leaders who have applied for their dotBrand have obviously found the benefits outweigh the costs. What about YOUR brand?

How long can you afford to wait?

As you evaluate the dotBrand costs and benefits for your brand, you must assess the opportunity cost of NOT having your dotBrand and assess it accurately:

We have helped guide many clients throughout the dotBrand process — from application to launch. Running a domain registry isn't the core of your business but it is the core of ours. Reach out to us and let's get the conversation started — this you can definitely afford!

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: New TLDs

Comments

Unless, of course... John Berryhill  –  Jun 22, 2015 7:25 PM PDT

...your brand happens to have two letters - HP, VW, GE, etc. - or if your brand has any numbers in it - 7UP, 747, 7ELEVEN.

Then there is the most famous arbitrarily screwed trademark - 3M - which is a double whammy (along with also-rans A1, F1 and V8).  I'd like to hear the poor TLD consultant who has to explain to them, "Well, we know you are one of the most famous brands on the planet, but we can't have you confused with a country code; and someone at ICANN decided to read an RFC wrong, and banned all numbers in mixed strings because they didn't understand the reason why a solely-numeric TLD could be confused with the terminal octet of an IPv4 address.

Of course, we'll never see PPG using Paint.Olympic, since the right to use their brand as a TLD, along with J&J;'s private "RED CROSS" brand first aid supplies (or the Red Cross shoe people), has long since been horse-traded away.

Clearly, there are substantial brands which will have to make do without a TLD.

Re: Unless, of course... Roland LaPlante  –  Jun 24, 2015 12:22 PM PDT

John - you are unfortunately correct and the situation is frustrating for all of us. However, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and many brands CAN take advantage of the many benefits that dotBrands offer. Major brands that missed the last round (and who are likely to be eligible) should be banging on ICANN's door demanding a level playing field.