Owning a piece of the Internet is not for the faint hearted

- It’s for brands who want to stay one step ahead online


This was not just another “high priced domain name” for brand owners to register; this was an opportunity to own a core piece of Internet infrastructure

So much has been written about ICANN’s new gTLD program it’s often difficult to keep pace with the changes, challenges and opportunities the new gTLDs represent. Many brand owners and industry commentators have rightly highlighted the impact the namespace expansion will have on their business.

The difficulties many face handling the existing 22 gTLDs and 270+ ccTLDs and all the third level TLDs beneath them could double by the end of 2013 and that’s not even counting the 780 single registrants gTLDs that could potentially be added to the root zone.

Last month we looked at how brand owners should be preparing themselves for new gTLDs and how the comment and objections process should be approached.  One topic however rarely gets the attention it deserves and that is the benefit .brand gTLDs will bring.

The original vision for the gTLD program was to increase competition, choice and consumer trust online. Many savvy brand owners recognized opportunity past the potential for a .bank, .london etc, and moved to secure their own strings either under their company or brand names. There is still a lot to be done and over the course of the next year prudent applicants will be using this time to define and shape their gTLD strategy.

The cost of application and uncertainty about the program of course added doubt to would-be applicants but with many notable brands missing from the applicant list it appears the opportunity may not have been fully understood. This was not a high priced domain name for brand owners to register, this was a opportunity to own a core piece of Internet infrastructure giving applicants the ability to secure a slice of Internet real estate and control their online presence and destiny forever.

Owning piece of the Internet is not for the faint hearted though; it is for brand owners who want to stay one step ahead. The modern digital world is fraught with dangers not just for consumers but for brand owners as well and the risk to reputation and revenue grows daily. Having the ability to create a definitive, genuine, secure and trusted space for users to interact with your brand online is something we all strive to achieve and I believe that owning a gTLD can help deliver that.

It goes without saying that it is not a case of build it and they will come. New gTLDs deliver a wide range of benefits and a gTLD owner has complete flexibility to leverage the space as they see fit but businesses must be prepared to invest time, effort and resources into their new gTLD if they are to realize the benefits.

The execution of a well prepared gTLD strategy has the potential to elevate brands beyond their digital position today and differentiate them from others online, using your gTLD will deliver instant and immediate recognition with Internet users and allow brands to build an authoritative and trusted space online free from user confusion, counterfeits, phishing and all the other criminal activities that pose a risk to business.

Imagine being able to build a brand around a space that guaranties authenticity, delivers the highest level of security and control and helps build trust in that brand? Being able to ensure that you have complete control online whilst delivering complete protection for your users – that’s what new gTLDs can deliver if introduced correctly.

Gaining this competitive advantage and building your space however is not a simple exercise, and most definitely not for the faint hearted. Owning and operating a gTLD is only half the story and at some point in time applicants will need to start using the asset they have invested in. The Internet is about to split into two tiers and those in the upper tier should be thinking about how to leverage their investment and display the thought leadership already demonstrated to truly become the online lighthouse brand Internet users will see them as.


Written by Ben Anderson, Head of new gTLD products, NetNames

16 October 2012