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Sample Brand Domains


.merck (1)
.merck (2)



This small list of brand domains represents less than one eighth of around 680 pending applications. The potential collective impact on the internet is significant — given the immense resources and market power of these global corporations.

NOTE: IDNs (internationalized domain names) such as brand names in Chinese or Arabic scripts are not currently covered by this site.





The .merck Dot Brand (1)

SPECIAL NOTE 1: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (based in the USA) is one of two applicants for the .merck TLD and is covered on this page.

Merck KGaA (based in Germany) has also applied for the .merck string.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. has filed both a "standard" and a "community" application for the same TLD. (Their standard application is covered below.) Merck KGaA has only filed a community application, and that is covered on a separate page.

It is unclear how this difficult challenge of two legitimate applications can be resolved.

SPECIAL NOTE 2: A quick note is presented here about Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp's community application for the .merck string and its rationale for applying under that category:

Community Application note:

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., aside from its core businesses of Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, and Consumer Care, also operates philanthropic and corporate responsibility programs. Examples include Merck for Mothers and the Merck Patient Assistance Program.

It also operates medical & scientific publications and sites such as The Merck Manual and The Merck Institute for Science Education.

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Merck has established a family of Merck marks that cover a range of goods and services. The family of subsidiaries, affiliates, foundations, licensees, and related parties that are authorized by Merck, to use the Merck marks in a range of economic and philanthropic activities, collectively act as a community.

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The Standard Application:

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. is a large healthcare company with around 86,000 employees in more than 140 countries. Its main segments are pharmaceutical, animal health, consumer care and alliances (R&D). Its mission is to develop innovative products & services that "save and improve lives".

The .merck TLD is intended to serve as an intuitive and hierarchical name space for the company and end-users. It will deepen and broaden the company's relationships with its stakeholders. Communication via alternative platforms such as mobile will be expanded. Merck will leverage emerging technologies to achieve these goals.

As an emerging dot brand TLD, the .merck string will help protect the company's online identity and content, provide a secure channel for online products & services, and provide a platform to consolidate various intellectual property related activities.

And as a brand TLD, differentiation and innovation will be primary driving factors.

The TLD will create a virtual avenue to content that will help enhance and expand Merck's promotional efforts to assist millions of end-users find Merck information online via a trusted source. Navigation to offerings, ad campaigns, research data and public interest content will be enhanced.

A four stage rollout is envisaged.

1. IT personnel will run tests on a limited number of domains to ensure seamless and secure access and interoperability with software etc. Future stages will be planned.

2. Widespread internal use will be trialled. The possibility of extending registration rights to licensees or other partners will be evaluated.

3. Various strategic and business factors will be considered. The company's existing domain name portfolio will be studied and marketing initiatives assessed.

4. Technical analysis of further expansion will continue. Merck believes that changes to the domain name system and in particular the impact of the brand domains will take a number of years to evolve and be evaluated. Further consideration of expanding registration rights to strategic parties will be made.

The Applicant will closely monitor the changes in the new namespace and make strategic adjustments as required to continually provide the most relevant and valuable experiences. Activity will resonate with the company's trajectory as described in its annual reports and investor filings.

Merck believes that the number of domain registrations will be less than 10,000 in the first five years of operation. These domains will be short, intuitive and memorable. Merck will measure the success of the program by the level of consumer recognition and trust it achieves. It ultimately hopes to attain the level of trust possessed by the .edu and .gov TLDs.

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MRH believes that the .MERCK gTLD will provide a single, trusted ecosystem experience for the millions of end-users seeking information...

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NOTE: MRH = Merck Registry Holdings

Merck will watch the evolution of the online marketplace closely. It will invest in an outreach and communication program to ensure that end-users continue to interact with content in an uninterrupted, simplified, efficient and productive way.

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MRH plans to start using .MERCK domain names primarily as redirects to existing .COM and other domains... MRH also plans to carefully review the response from search engines to .BRAND gTLDs, and the perception of end users.

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Merck notes that at the time of application filing, it had not had time to evaluate all potential case use options.

A primary mission of the .merck TLD is to provide a trusted marketplace for products and services and access to content. Sole ownership and operation of the TLD means consumers will have a new and intuitive way to access safe and authorized content.

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Also, end users may benefit from lower incidents of phishing and malware often associated with mistypes of domain names in the .COM space that are owned by cybersquatters since they will be navigating to domain names in the .MERCK gTLD...

...Providing end-users with a trusted experience is paramount... and the .MERCK gTLD will be used to further that goal.

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Healthcare companies like Merck are currently fighting "never-ending battles to protect their valuable intellectual property from fraud and piracy". Merck intends to utilize "best-in-class safeguards" to eliminate any pirated or infringing content.

The company will also extend its existing strong protection for privacy and confidentiality to the .merck extension.

globe pictureGeographic Dot Brands

Merck is very aware that national governments are sensitive about the issue of protecting country & territory identifiers in the domain name system.

The Applicant is hence committed to the initial reservation of geographic names which are referred to in Specification 5 of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook.

These geographical identifiers are documented in the ISO 3166-1 list, a UN Working Group document on standardized names and a UN Group of Experts manual on names.

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (MSD) is a major healthcare company serving patients and providers in over 140 countries. Merck is interested in working with the GAC to explore a potential process to permit the release of initially reserved geographic terms and will monitor the efforts of other registries in this regard. It is clear that the use of country terms would be valuable to the company (and the public).

Given this geographic approach to finding localized MSD content, MRH intends to explore the option of providing a hierarchical and intuitive framework for the .MERCK namespace by using geographical identifiers as second-level domain names.

Possible .merck Brand Domains



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.

All quotations on this page are from the respective companies' official ICANN brand TLD applications unless otherwise stated.

Many possible theoretical dot brands are mentioned (in English). There are also countless possibilities in other languages. This has significant potential value for international navigation.

This site is focused on reporting the strategic impact of the brand domains on internet communication, competition and commerce, and some comment is speculative.

It is not a comprehensive overview of what some of the world's largest corporations have chosen to reveal about their plans for the implementation of their proprietary domain strings.

ICANN is particularly concerned with the technical, financial, security and legal issues associated with the new TLDs. These issues are beyond the scope of this website.

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 these ICANN links: You can also search a complete list of applicants there.

ICANN new gTLD applications

ICANN official website



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The Brand Domains — it's unprecedented — the advent of around 680 companies launching their own dot brands began in 2014.



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