Ok so here’s the thing, we’re over 2 years into the new gTLD rollout now, a new era of the Internet, and everything seems to be going swimmingly…. Or is it?
On the face of it, momentum is building. Over 16 million domain names registered in the past 2 years and 60% of them would still have been available under a .com e.g. nameshield.website and its .com equivalent nameshieldwebsite.com. That’s great because it means that New gTLD domain names are being registered instead of the equivalent .com.
But there is still one thing lacking, something I have been quite vocal about in the past, and that is the fact that very few people actually know that there has been a fundamental shift in the naming infrastructure on the Internet.
To put in another way – the general public don’t know about new gTLDs.
Two years down the line and society is still living in the dot com age and will continue to do so until the .BRAND applicants start to use their gTLDs in their marketing, promotional and operational activities.
“WWW, shhhh, dot com, dot org.”
Dr. Evil, Austin Powers Goldmember 2002
What has changed in 14 years?
A new .brand of concern
Here is where things start to get a bit more worrying. Of the 589 .BRAND applications received, 558 of them have signed their ICANN contracts, 289 of them have been delegated and are live on the Internet but only 64 of them are in active use and most of those still redirect to the corporate homepage, usually a .COM!
One of the most prolific .BRAND registrants is Bradesco (a Brazilian Bank) and that has an underwhelming 90 .bradesco names under management. Despite this poor showing, it is the banking sector which is leading the way. BNP Paribas, for example, has been very active promoting its .bnpparibas domain extension e.g www.histoire.bnpparibas and www.mabanque.bnpparibas
One notable, and unfortunately a rather embarrassing, example of how the .BRANDs should be promoting their domain extensions is www.booking.com which spent a fortune on its highly successful booking.yeah advertising campaign.
The booking.yeah campaign is a shining beacon to .BRAND owners, lighting the way with a clear, concise and powerful example on how to use your new gTLD to maximum effect.
Unfortunately, no-one thought to inform the Booking.com marketing department that they could actually own the .YEAH domain extension and so this multi-million dollar advertising campaign, which is centred around a really great and very memorable domain name ‘booking.yeah’, does not and cannot resolve to a website because no one actually applied for .YEAH.
use it or lose it!
The clock is ticking for those that own a .BRAND. Not simply because there is a time limit before the registry has to be operational, nor because domain extensions have to be operated for a minimum of 10 years, but because there will undoubtedly be another round of applications.
At present owners of a .BRAND are in a privileged competitive position online when compared to counterparts which failed to apply for a .BRAND. For example, Nike owns .NIKE whereas Adidas did not apply for .ADIDAS.
There is a limited window of opportunity to steal a march on the competition in a big way by ushering in the Not Com era.
.BRAND owners know that while they procrastinate, dither and generally do nothing with their expensive and highly valuable Internet asset they are frittering away the opportunity to put clear water between themselves and their competitors online.
So why then aren’t more .BRAND owners rushing to promote their new internet address?
If I’m honest, I believe it is because to date, the champions in the majority of .BRANDs applicants have been those that understand and are responsible for the legal, technical and risk reduction benefits of owning and operating a Top Level Domain rather than the outward facing sales, marketing and strategic positioning benefits that operating a .BRAND can bring.
In my experience, when the Sales and Marketing functions truly understand what you can actually do with a .BRAND, when it is closely aligned with marketing campaigns and business development strategies, the real power of the Not Com era becomes blindingly obvious.
CMO Nameshield Group