Impact Of The Brand Domains
There is no precedent for the dawn of the dot brands.
Somewhere around 680 of the world's most powerful and influential corporations will launch a proprietary brand domain.
No-one truly knows what will happen to the blueprint of the internet.
Collectively, billions of dollars and yuan and euros and yen will be invested to ensure their success.
General Electric. Application for the .gecompany extension.
The reach of the brand domain applicants is quite staggering. Their collective customer and staff base numbers are in the billions. For example just one of the 680 applicants, McDonald's, has 1.7 million employees.
Even before they start spending hundreds of millions launching their new strings, the brand applicants will be able to send out hundreds of millions of opt-in emails to stakeholders. For free.
McDonald's. Application for the .mcdonalds extension.
The implications for communication and outreach are gigantic. Imagine every hamburger and wrapper and drink labelled with a cross-promotional message: "Deals.mcdonalds". The company serves 68 million customers every day of the year in 119 countries. Imagine a loyalty program based around every store having a banner "Coupons.mcdonalds". Imagine a video channel called "TV.mcdonalds" and a private social ecosystem "Friends.mcdonalds".
Then multiply that scenario by 500 to get a glimpse of the potential game changing impact. And if it all works, get ready to double it in a few years when another 1,000 companies join the program in the next round.
The rise of the private internets will give birth to undreamed of innovations and redefine the online landscape. The whole system of internet use, habit and navigation will change as user options multiply dramatically as they seek out new and compelling experiences.
Bridgestone. Application for the .bridgestone extension.
For example, if you're a truck owner who likes Bridgestone products, you will be able to simply go to TruckTires.bridgestone to conduct your research.
The majority of brand domain applicants seem to be looking forward to being able to leverage the trust and authenticity that ownership of a dot brand will enable. Dupont calls it a "seal of quality".
Dupont. Application for the .dupont extension.
While it is impossible to precisely define the future impact of the brand domains, it is certainly possible to make plausible judgments based on the historical evolution of the generic strings (like .com) and the country code strings (like .de). When corporations like Apple and Toyota set benchmarks with domains like Apple.com and Toyota.com, others followed.
The deployment of domains like SmartWatch.apple and Prius.toyota are certain to have some kind of formidable impact.
The world will quickly take note.
A few compelling experiences like News.cbs or Rock.youtube are certain to break out and drive acceptance.
In the case of "new" or relaunched or re-purposed domain strings like .co and .tv, the existence of major "anchor tenants" has proven to be a key factor. The theory goes that if Apple and Toyota launched major initiatives on Apple.tv and Toyota.tv, then others would follow.
So, in light of the fact that around 680 of the globe's major companies are planning dedicated brand domains, ie a substantial core collection of "anchor tenants", the possible impact cannot be underestimated.
Delta. Application for the .delta extension.
The brand domains provide unlimited opportunities for the creation of short, relevant and intuitive domain names fully branded to boot. A domain like Movies.fox passes all the premium tests it's memorable, intuitive, branded and mobile friendly.
Fox. Application for the .fox extension.
Expert domain investors have often debated the merits of "exact match" domains (like Movies.com) versus the merits of "brandables" (like Fox.com). For the first time, the two categories can be combined.
NOTE: The domain 'Fox.movies' is specifically named in the application as a future website that will launch.
The brand domains will very likely lead to collective synergies being gained by the applicants. Given their massive collective media marketing power, and the insatiable appetite for online consumers for new and positive experiences, the advent of the dot brands is sure to create a new paradigm on the internet.
Fujitsu. Application for the .fujitsu extension.
When something new and big happens, like the launch of the brand domains for example, elements of consistency and tradition start to form. Many of the dot brand applications note that they will carefully watch the other applicants and assess consumer views.
In a progression similar to the way mobile phones and many products and services mimic each other over time, the new TLDs will likely mimic each others' initiatives.
To use an example from Fujitsu's application as cited above, the company suggests it will use the domain Search.fujitsu as one of its websites. It is highly likely that many of the brand domain applicants will use the same model. It's simple, intuitive and to the collective benefit of all TLD applicants for certain conventions to emerge. Then, we might expect to be able to intuitively visit Search.apple, Search.comcast, Search.ibm or Search.toyota without using Google.
Not to mention Search.google.
Conventions will emerge in the website portfolios of the brand domain owners. For example, if country & territory terms are approved for use (as is expected) many of the dot brands will quickly deploy them for their obvious intuitive value.
Tiffany. Application for the .tiffany extension.
NOTE: second level = words left of the dot
There are myriad and unforeseen ways the brand domains will be promoted. Public interest is likely to be great once awareness is widespread. Some companies will even create sites dedicated to their new TLDs:
Shell. Application for the .shell extension.
As an example, Tiffany's application specifically mentions the domain name Registry.tiffany. If this convention is widely adopted it will be useful both for the companies and the general public.
IBM's trademark was valued at more than 69 billion dollars by Interbrand in 2011. The company believes its .ibm string will add clarity, consistency and authenticity to its online presence by leveraging the existing power of its core brand.
IBM. Application for the .ibm extension.
During the evolution of the internet, domains, trademarks and brands have experienced an increasingly inter-connected evolution. Due to their unique exclusivity, domain names can be compared to trademarks even though they don't have the same legal status. A domain can serve as a de facto trademark.
A domain like Software.com doesn't need a trademark in a literal sense because the registrant is the sole person in the entire world who can make use of this identifier.
Domains like Software.ibm will advance this issue to a new level.
This principle of inter-connectivity is well understood by expert trademark attorneys:
I.D. Lewis. American Intellectual Property Law Association
(This comment was made in the context of the proposed new closed generic TLDs rather than the closed brand TLDs - Ed.)
This principle is well understood by some of the world's largest corporations. For example, National Australia Bank has trademarks on its full name in 17 countries and trademarks for "NAB" in five. It owns more than 400 traditional domain names containing these trademarks. It also has 'exact match' registrations in many generic and country code domain extensions such as .com, .net, .com.au and .cn.
The bank knows that its proposed new brand TLD is inseparable from its trademarks & brand and has the potential to add significant value.
National Australia Bank. Application for the .nab extension.
The Supremacy Of .COM
For some reason, the dot com string emerged as the gold standard of domain strings over the two decades of the evolution of the commercial internet. Everyone knows its mandatory for any international company to own a name like Philips.com or Canon.com.
That's not going to change anytime soon, but the proportional balance will. The new brand domains will have a big impact. No corporation is going to decommission their dot com domain, but their new brand domains stand a good chance of assuming a comparable status and authority to their dot com sisters. Will that happen within a decade? Who knows?
Domains like Cloud.ibm, Music.sony, Cars.toyota, Beauty.chanel and Mail.fedex are poised to assume status, trust and prestige that could one day rival their dot com equivalents.
Some applications even discuss the possibility of migrating their content over to their new domains.
A possible consequence of the rise of the brand domains is that it could drive a new resurgence and acceptance of non dot com domain names. Customers of the 680 applicants will become used to going to sites like Insurance.progressive and Shop.macys.
This could somewhat shake the iron grip that dot com names have and drive acceptance of other domain extensions, particularly the promising new generic strings like .game, .hotel and .store.
These new generic TLDs are also discussed on the generic domains page.
Brand names mentioned on this site are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective corporations. This site claims no association with or endorsement by any of these corporations and their marks are mentioned only to illustrate opinion presented in the public interest.
For a comprehensive overview of the brand domains and their impact on the web, refer to ICANN's website and the individual applications (large parts of which are publicly published).
If you have a particular interest in an individual company, the public aspects of their applications are available for download via the following ICANN links: You can also search a complete list of applicants there.
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