First Brand Domain Name Extension Launched
18 Jan 2014 Launch: The world's first brand domain was delegated on 18 Jan, about three months after the launch of ICANN's ambitious new TLD program. The pioneering organization is Australia's Monash University.
In the foreseeable future at least, the new .monash string will supplement, not replace, the existing Monash.edu domain and email destinations.
Monash CIO Ian Tebbett said new domains would be phased in gradually and would ultimately improve the university's online presence and representation.
Adam Bender. ComputerWorld. Updated: Monash gets first branded top-level domain.
City Domains Launched
On 8 Jan 2014 the .berlin city string was launched heralding a process in which many of the world's major cities will control their own domain strings. (A small number of significant regions are also launching domains. For example, .ruhr launched on 10 Dec 2013.)
Other major geographical strings such as .tokyo, .london, .miami, .quebec and .paris went live in the January to April period.
These new city and regional domains will be similar in their operations and functionality to country code domains such as .cn, .de and .co.uk. More info about these innovative destinations is available on the Generics page.
Approval Sought For Geographical Domain Names
On 20 Nov 2013 the GAC held a meeting in Argentina. They met with the Brand Registry Group (BRG) which represents some of the applicants for brand domains. The BRG is seeking to make a change to the Registry Agreement which would allow the dot brands to use country & territory names within their brand TLDs.
(Geographical terms are currently reserved from use in the new TLD program due to their sensitivity to national governments and the possibility of confusing or malicious misuse. However, it is clear that while a new generic domain such as USA.health could potentially be misleading, a brand domain such as USA.mcdonalds would not be; and would in contrast serve the public interest.)
There appears to be no opposition to the use of geographical terms by the brand domains, and it seems likely they will be able to use them in the future. Many Applicants expressly state their wish to be able to use such terms and some offer to maintain a resolution procedure in the event that any national government objects to any use. As an example of this issue, McDonalds states that it "will not use geographic names until ICANN has approved such use". Sample page LINK.
GAC. Buenos Aires Communiqué. LINK
The Brand Domains May Reduce The Use Of Social Media
18 Nov 2013 Report: Research from Afilias (a major registry services provider) suggests that brand owners who are launching their own dot brands are likely to reduce their reliance on social media marketing & communications to promote their goods & services.
A poll conducted by Afilias at a London Conference revealed that 83 percent of gTLD applicants and experts who responded consider brand domains will be more effective than social networks for online interaction.
Afilias. Social networks likely to lose grip on brand/consumer conversations in the wake of new "dot Brand" Web domains. LINK
NOTE: Some brand TLD Applicants specifically mention social media in their applications, for example Toyota mentions: "websites, social networks, email and other technologies that will reside within the .TOYOTA domain name space."
New Domains Launch Phase Begins
On 23 Oct 2013, ICANN announced the historic delegation of the first four generic TLDs into the Internet's Root Zone. Certain administrative procedures must now take place, and the first domain strings may appear as soon as December.
Official information can be seen at ICANN's website.
The four pioneering strings are all generic domains (and all IDNs internationalized domain names) and none are brand domains. Many new non-Latin script TLDs are set to be launched.
The first delegated strings are:
".web/network" (in Arabic)
".online" (in Cyrillic)
".site" (in Cyrillic)
".game(s)" (in Chinese).
ICANN. First New Generic Top-Level Domains Delegated. LINK
Over the next few years, up to 1400 new domain strings will be launched, with close to half of these being brand domains. A few of the IDNs will be brand domains.
Official ICANN Information
For accurate and up-to-date information about the whole new gTLD program, check ICANN's online content regularly for daily updates:
ICANN official site LINK.
My ICANN site LINK.
ICANN new TLD applications LINK.
ICANN new TLDs launched to date LINK.
There is a vast volume of information available on ICANN websites. You can even read blogs and sign up for newsletters.
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 "ICANN new gTLD applications" link above. You can also search a complete list of applicants there.
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