In 2012 when ICANN launched its new gTLD program more than 1000 brands were successful in securing their brand. In Australia, there were many brands that applied, such as .CBA, .AFL,.MONASH etc.
It gaves brands the opportunity to create their own domain namespace and a secure & private domain name network that they controlled.
After 8 years, ICANN has announced that it will open the window again most likely in late 2022. Brand owners can again apply for their own top level domain string.
An Expensive Investment
The application fees last round was $185,000 USD. Some suggest that the costs to apply this time, if it goes ahead, will go down, but it will still be a reasonably expensive exercise to discourage gTLD stockpiling.
Similarly, the costs to operate your own TLD will be more reasonable. Applicants will be able to pick from a list of pre-approved backend providers which will avoid the cost of having your technical expertise evaluated every time you apply for a TLD string.
Was the last program a success?
From a retail perspective, the new gTLDs have not met expectations for the people who have made these domain names available to the public. That includes the many registries that spent millions acquiring strings as well as ICANN.
In terms of the .brand domain names, most of the corporate brands who applied in Australia have not made their domain name a central piece of their digital strategy. Most have been deployed in a limited capacity. Globally there are better examples of corporate brands utilizing their .brands.
.BNPPARIBAS, As an international bank, servicing millions of customers and businesses, provides an additional layer of security that our customers rely on. It is not a central part of their domain strategy. Comparatively, Australian banks have not followed suit.
Melbourne and Sydney have both made their domain namespaces available to local businesses, both of which have been utilized especially strong take-up by tourism-related businesses.
Other examples of brands that are successfully utilizing their .brand include – BMW, Barclays, Sky, and Google.
Brandsec offers a full-service new TLD shared solution. We found that the Registry/Registrar operators charged exorbitant pricing in the previous round encouraging brands to lock in contracts for high tier levels for registering second level domains. The Registry operating costs were also very high as brand owners were not very well educated about the services they were receiving.
This time around, there is much greater awareness as to options. Remember, only one TLD string is available at the top level. In the first round there were famously 8 applicants for .cpa and only the applicant with the deepest pockets (the American Institute of CPA’s was able to secure it.) So if your brand name is a term that may be shared with another brand (like continental – tyres, watches, clothing) only one brand can secure this at the top level. So many brands will want to secure their brand name from a brand protection perspective. If there is more than one applicant for a brand (and this may include a plural) then the string will most likely go to auction.
It is important to keep abreast of applications in the coming round and be informed. This time there will be a short application window, queued processing, dispute process and resolution. The ICANN working group is finalising the policies for the next round and will hopefully wrap things up shortly 373-page document (pdf).
Brandsec is a corporate domain name management and brand protection company that looks after many of Australia, New Zealand and Asia’s top publicly listed brands. We provide monitoring and enforcement services, DNS, SSL Management, domain name brokerage and dispute management and brand security consultation services.