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2016: The Year That Was in .brands TLDs

Back in June, I wrote about the progress of .brands at the half-way point of the year.

At the time, the total number of domains registered in .brand TLDs had grown by 238% in just six months, including a number of significant, high-profile .brands that had publicly launched.

I also shared several broad patterns of usage that had started to emerge.

As we approach the end of 2016, let's take a look at the year that was — the year that we saw some of the world's most recognized brands join the movement and truly demonstrate that this is a growing community of innovative marketers ready to take on the next evolution in branding.

Let's recap…

Major launches
Google – consolidating news and updates from over 19 of Google's corporate and product blogs, 'The Keyword' was launched at www.blog.google in October, joining the internet giant's retail domain name sales play at www.domains.google

Canon – one of a handful of 'full transitions' to .brands, the company's global site is now at global.canon, with the existing canon.com domain redirecting to this awesome new site

Saxo – already an innovator in online trading and investment technology, Saxo Bank's redesign of its saxobank.com site launched at www.home.saxo. This now works in tandem with Saxo's Institutional Division site at www.markets.saxo and the organisation was even strong enough to explain the reasons why they saw this as a great idea.

BMWwww.next100.bmw is an impressive promotional site showcasing the company's vision for its next 100 years.

CERN – the birthplace of the Internet relocated its whole website to its .cern domain, centered on the homepage at www.home.cern.

Dell, Deloitte, Chanel, Microsoft, Audi, Cisco, Fage, Orange, Komatsu, Shell, Mini, Lidl, Linde, Bradesco, Hotmail, NTT, UOL, Pictet, Windows, Bloomberg, Sky, Fox, Emerck, Weir and BNP Paribas are just a handful of the other organizations with live .brand websites.

'Home' is still a popular term

I identified the trend of registering a 'home.brand' domain in my mid-year analysis and this pattern has continued. At least 39 brands have now created their 'home.brand' domain, including one 'maison.brand' by a French-speaking company.

As patterns and conventions emerge for the way .brand domains are structured, the user experience when engaging with these new sites becomes more intuitive, reliable and natural.

By the numbers

Looking ahead

While some astonishing progress has been made in 2016, the .brand movement is by no means complete. I personally am thrilled to be heading into 2017 with such momentum behind us and I'm optimistic about the continued growth of the .brands space in the New Year.

Already this year we've been surprised by the creative approaches many brands have taken and we're looking forward to seeing which companies will use 2017 to take .brands to places we haven't considered before.

Perhaps 2017 will be the year in which mainstream advertising strategies adopt .brands as a unique, memorable call-to-action and the marketers of the world find significant value in creating more direct, meaningful customer relationships through smarter digital marketing.

With almost all .brands now added to the Internet, the game is on. Which brands will emerge as frontrunners and truly revolutionize the way we look at digital?

I don't know the answer, but I sure am excited to find out.

By Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at GoDaddy Registry

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