New extensions: all set for “.brand”?

6The “.BRAND” Tld is a new gTLD that is becoming increasingly appealing. Companies are interested in this concept in order to own an extension of their own brand. This practice is an excellent marketing opportunity to present products of the brand.

Some statistics on the “.brand” 

  • 596 TLDs among which 536 were delegated
  • 184 TLDs with more than 5 currently active registrations
  • 4312 domain names but only 437 active websites
  • 54 .BRANDs appear in the Alexa Rankings, representing a 69% increase in one month.
  • The top 5 terms to the left of .BRAND:
    • Home
    • www
    • mail
    • careers
    • support

sources 2016

What about companies having their “.brand”?

The actual impact of the “.brand” has not yet been established. However, these extensions are widely used in the banking sector, where security and authenticity are primary concerns.

Companies by now should have knowledge of their new websites using a “.brand” – notably the home.TLD used as a main site. While many companies have not yet given up their traditional domain names (.com, .fr, .co.uk, etc.), they no longer hesitate to promote their “.brand” amongst their clients.

Large companies have already made the transition: CERN, The Weir Group or even BNPParibas almost exclusively use their “.brand”. Others, like Barclays, are currently making the transition over towards complete use of their new extension.

Should one acquire a “.brand”?

There are many advantages to a “.brand” – particularly in terms of reputation with internet users and clients.

As a Tld exclusive to companies, internet users will thus be able to trust them, to value their reliability and will be able to feel safe in accessing these sites. Internet users will  know with whom they are dealing and will not be misled by a potential cybersquatter. The company maintains full control of its extension and it can therefore apply any desired policy to promote its brand image.

A “.brand” is an excellent opportunity for businesses to promote their brand image and enhance communication. Companies would also at any time be able to use reliable statistics to determine their marketing and communication policy.

Will you make the transition?

Following the completion of the first round of new gTLDs, ICANN has scheduled a second one for 2018, even though it seems more likely that will take place in 2020.

To prepare for the above, companies need to perform an impact assessment: an analysis of the market, of the company’s activities and its competitors’ position in order to enable a brand to identify its needs.

Becoming a manager and a registrar of an extension requires preparation and particular technical skills and expertise. One must for example pay ICANN fees, manage the registry database and offer various services such as a 24/7 maintenance service.

If a business plans to have its brand name extension, all departments must be involved: marketing, communications, production, legal, technological, risk, etc. An internal strategy should be devised to efficiently determine the advantages and disadvantages and to carry out a study on the company’s return on investment. Finally, the technical conditions and compliance with ICANN standards are minor compared to this internal strategy. Businesses should consider integrating the “.brand” in their communication strategy.

Choosing not to have a “.brand” is already a strategy. One should therefore take a stand and ensure they are fully prepared before engaging in the .brand process.

Please feel free to contact Dreyfus for more information.