The .walmart Dot Brand
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates 11,000 stores in 27 countries under 69 banners. More than 245 million customers and members visit the stores each week. The company employs more than two million associates around the world. Its sales in fiscal year 2013 amounted to around $466 billion. Walmart operates e-commerce websites in 10 countries.
As a major global retailer, Walmart has made a considerable investment in eCommerce technology platforms to reach out to customers and accelerate growth. The company understands how changing technology has had a big impact on the retail sector as online sales grow.
It currently uses multiple TLDs including generic strings such as .com, .net and .org and country code strings like .ca, .co.uk and .us.
The proposed new .walmart extension offers an opportunity to move forward from this the new string will help protect the company's identity and presence online, enhance its marketing activities, provide a secure channel and offer an opportunity to consolidate its activities and identity.
The .walmart TLD will benefit internet users by providing a trusted source of information for customers, investors and the general public. It will also improve navigation to company products, services and campaigns.
The Application also states that "the primary driving factors behind .WALMART are differentiation and innovation".
The new string will provide Walmart with a convenient supply of short and memorable internet addresses. As an additional benefit as a sole registry TLD counterfeiting, typos, cybersquatting and fake websites can be readily avoided.
The new domains will be simpler and more efficient than the existing network of domains such as Wal-martChina.com and WalmartMexico.com.mx. These domains will potentially be replaced by China.walmart and Mexico.walmart if geographic domains are eventually permitted (see section about "Geographic Dot Brands" below).
The .walmart brand domains will be launched in a four-stage process:
1. A small number of registrations will be made to enable testing by security and IT personnel. Interoperability will be tested and administration and communication systems set up. Future strategic planning will start.
2. A wider use of domains will be made for Walmart's internal use. The potential migration of traffic from existing domains to "the new Walmart family of gTLDs" will be studied and evaluated.
3. Depending on an analysis of stage two, Walmart may commence the permanent migration of traffic away from its traditional TLDs. The possibility of extending registration rights to licensees and strategic partners will also be evaluated.
4. Further assessment of the project will continue in a process that is expected to take at least five years. It is anticipated that the impact of the brand domains will take a number of years to be realized.
Expansion plans will take these multiple factors into account, as well as Walmart's own evolving business strategies as described in its annual reports and investor filings.
Walmart will evaluate the rate of consumer recognition and adoption of the new TLD program as a whole and the response of search engines before implementing its new digital strategies. A phased-in approach is anticipated. New .walmart domains will initially be re-directed to existing company content.
The Application goes on to state that the success of the Walmart brand domains will not be measured by the number of registrations, "but by the levels of consumer recognition and trust that are placed in .WALMART". It is hoped that the string will eventually possess a similar level of trust and recognition as is currently enjoyed by the .edu and .gov TLDs.
As part of its broad expansion trajectory, Walmart constantly seeks to pursue US and international opportunities. This includes developing new platforms on the internet that will strengthen the company's relationships with consumers.
If these factors appear positive, Walmart will make an appropriate investment to promote its outreach and communications for the new string.
Walmart has selected Verisign to provide backend registry services for its brand domains and a high level of security protection will be implemented.
As the registry for the benchmark .com TLD, Verisign is highly experienced in the successful operation of secure sites. The Applicant expresses a commitment to providing "best in class safeguards" and will monitor the progress of other dot brand applicants to assist this process.
The space will be protected against illegal activity, scams, phishing, pharming, virus distribution, defamation, intolerance, deception, piracy, spam, IP infringement and so on. Walmart's existing robust company-wide safeguards to protect personal and confidential information will be extended to its new brand domain portfolio.
An added social advantage is that other trademark holders will have no need to acquire defensive registrations in the space.
The foundation stone for the security and integrity of the .walmart string lies in the exclusive sole-registry status of the TLD.
Geographic Dot Brands
Walmart is very aware that the protection of country & territory terms in the domain name system is a sensitive issue for national governments. The Applicant has researched relevant documents pertaining to this issue such as ICANN Board Resolution 01-92 which addresses the methodology for the reservation and release of country identifiers in the .info space.
Walmart is committed to the initial reservation of geographic terms (within the .walmart space) as defined in recognized lists as described in Specification 5 of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook.
However, as a global enterprise operating in more than two dozen countries and serving customers and members more than 200 million times a week Walmart is interested in being able to use geographic identifiers in its brand domains in the future.
NOTE: second-level = left of the dot
Walmart wishes to determine if the intuitive and hierarchical use of geographic terms will increase consumer functionality and navigational efficiency as expected. The likelihood of this improvement can be seen by examining existing company domains such as Walmart.ca, WalmartMexico.com.mx and Wal-MartChina.com.
These examples could be replaced by Canada.walmart, Mexico.walmart and China.walmart. They would appear to be superior domain names, and they would not appear to be in any way detrimental to or confusing for the governments of those three countries.
There is clearly an opportunity for consolidation.
Walmart believes its new .walmart string can potentially provide a "single-source identifying function for consumers". As a responsible global business, the Applicant would endeavour to avoid any possible misleading or confusing use of any geographic domains.
Hence, Walmart wishes to work with ICANN, the GAC, world governments and other brand TLD applicants to seek the release of geographical identifiers.
Possible .walmart 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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