The .volkswagen Dot Brand
Volkswagen AG is one of the world's largest automobile manufacturers. Its portfolio of 12 brands include Audi, Porsche, Ducati and Scania. In 2013 it delivered more than 9.7m vehicles with group sales of 197 billion euros. It also operates in other business fields. The group operates 106 production plants in 27 countries and has more than 572,000 employees.
SPECIAL NOTE: Volkswagen Group of America Inc. is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. Curiously, the group's application for its brand domain extension expressly states that it will be assigned to serve that subsidiary:
However (as described in "Geographic Dot Brands" below) the company will eventually apply to be able to use geographic descriptors in the domain string, which implies an international role for the domains beyond just the American subsidiary.
Also, some of the proposed domains specifically named in the application similarly imply an international functionality names like Maintenance.volkswagen and Lamborghini.volkswagen.
If Volkswagen AG restricts its brand string to its US subsidiary, there is a risk of consumer confusion and annoyance in all other countries since hundreds of other forthcoming brand TLDs will very specifically have an international focus. The brand domains as a group will create a powerful precedent and convention and it is hard to see Volkswagen resisting this in the long term.
The internet is a globalizing force and Volkswagen's application is counter to this.
The report below uses the company name in a general sense and largely ignores the Applicant's direct reference to the US subsidiary.
The .volkswagen string will enhance reliability and authenticity in the online space, which in turn will increase consumer trust.
The TLD will differentiate and add value to the company's highly valuable brand. It will enable the Applicant's goods and services to be further promoted to consumers and other stakeholders. It will be used to strengthen the company slogan: "Volkswagen. Das Auto." ("Volkswagen. The Car.") It will help to continue the upward trajectory of this powerful brand.
In broad terms, the .volkswagen string will support the company's activities in manufacturing, sales, marketing, administration, management and human resources.
The brand "Volkswagen" was ranked at Number 47 on Interbrand's list of the "Worlds Most Valuable Brands" in 2011.
Visitors will quickly understand that all domains under the brand TLD are authentic since they can only be operated by Volkswagen. It will become a "trusted namespace on the Internet" and a symbol of quality that will resonate with the ideals of the company and enhance its reputation.
Volkswagen will actively strive to create awareness of its new category of domain names as will other brand domain applicants. The company anticipates that consumers will come to expect that large corporations will own their own domain extensions. This leads to the expectation that consumers will often "type-in" their desired destinations rather than using search engines.
Volkswagen believes that brand domains will rank highly in search algorithms citing a 2011 report by Forrester Research which says: "Search engines will give authority to dot-brand TLDs".
Site addresses will be more intuitive. The need to navigate through often complex hierarchies will be reduced.
Volkswagen will use the architecture of its brand TLD as part of its brand strategy.
Examples like Audi.volkswagen and Bugatti.volkswagen are given. These new domains will give customers exciting new ways to connect with the company.
The Applicant will work in association with Afilias, its registry back-end services provider, to maintain the security of the .volkswagen space and limit any possible domain name abuse. The broad aim is to preserve the integrity of the .volkswagen string.
Security policies will include protection against undesirable outcomes such as illegal or fraudulent activities, spam, phishing, malware distribution (eg. viruses and keyloggers), botnet command & control and hacking.
Afilias is also the highly experienced registry operator of the .info domain string and the back-end registry provider of .org and other TLDs.
Geographic Dot Brands
Volkswagen will reserve from registration names with national or geographic significance to world governments as per the requirements of the New TLD Registry Agreement. This is in accord with GAC advice. A comprehensive list of these names will be published prior to the launch of the company's brand domains.
However, Volkswagen notes that this type of geographic domain name may be released in the event that the registry reaches an agreement with its applicable government. Hence, it will likely further explore this option.
NOTE: IDN = internationalized domains names
Possible .volkswagen 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.
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