Market Roundup: Experimentation Drives These .brand TLDs

Market Roundup: Experimentation Drives These .brand TLDs

Market Roundup: Experimentation Drives These .brand TLDs

Check out how these three brands are using their .brand TLDs to innovate and redefine their very own digital landscape. Among other tactics within these examples, you’ll find promotional pages, pages for targeted campaigns, and creative redirects.

www.2020.ntt highlights NTT Communication’s Gold Partner sponsorship in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.  The site is bilingual, with text in Japanese and English. A promotional page centered on an event or sponsorship activity can be a great way to introduce your .brand without immediately transitioning existing assets. 

www.home.barclays is just what it says—the corporate homepage for Barclays, the British banking and financial services giant. Barclays was one of the first major brands to shift its primary properties to a .brand TLD. The bank has received plaudits from around the world for its commitment to this innovation and for having courage to move its global home page onto the .barclays extension. 

www.countryman.mini is Mini’s brochureware page for its more spacious Countryman models. Another .com redirect making life simpler. 

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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.brand Delegated? Now Comes the Fun Part

.brand Delegated? Now Comes the Fun Part

.brand Delegated? Now Comes the Fun Part

By Corey Grant
Senior Advisor – Professional Services, Neustar

A little over a year ago I wrote a series of articles to help guide those with a .brand TLD through the delegation process. After ICANN’s recent push for .brands to delegate, the majority are now across the line.

There would be many organizations out there currently feeling like first time parents who’ve just brought a newborn home from the hospital — it’s been a long process already, and the hard work hasn’t even begun. 

You have a number of things to consider; from how the .brand fits into your overarching digital and marketing strategy to managing the internal process of approving requests for names.

One thing you may not have contemplated yet, is the issue of ongoing compliance with the ICANN Registry Agreement you signed. Part of the basic obligations of operating a .brand TLD includes regular communication with ICANN, including the need to prove you are currently compliant and taking steps to prevent non-compliance. Self-audits, timely responses to zone file (CZDS) requests and more require ongoing focus. If you fail on any of these counts, then there are consequences that can impact your brand reputation in the real world. ICANN wants .brand TLDs to succeed, but ICANN also has an obligation to ensure all TLDs adhere to the Registry Agreement.

This is one area where the old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’ really applies.

The other issue you need to consider as a TLD owner is the importance of keeping up with the latest industry information. This requires considerable time and expertise, not to mention access to key ICANN communication and people. You may be eligible to have a vote within the ICANN Registry Stakeholder Group, which is one of the more powerful voices in the ICANN community. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you are involved in this process. Changes to policy can directly affect your business, though assigning resources to attend calls and review email chains is not typically economical for a .brand. It also requires a key set of skills to understand the stakeholder landscape and voting processes.

Everything I’ve mentioned is what you signed up for with the ICANN Registry Agreement. Just like hiring a good plumber or even a hairdresser, there are some things in life where doing it yourself just doesn’t make sense. 

When do you need to address many of these obligations? Once you’re delegated, ICANN sees you as live. So even if you haven’t registered any names to use, you have the same obligations as the more active TLDs.

The good news is there are services out there that can help you navigate your Registry Agreement obligations. If you feel your organization could benefit from this level of expertise then bring an external provider on board who specializes in this area — it could be one of the smartest moves you make.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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One We’ve Been Waiting for: Google Switches TLD Registrar to .google Domain Name

One We’ve Been Waiting for: Google Switches TLD Registrar to .google Domain Name

One We’ve Been Waiting for: Google Switches TLD Registrar to .google Domain Name

Neustar’s Tony Kirsch explains why the .google TLD will be one to watch.

If you’ve read my posts before you’ll be well aware that as a strong advocate for .brands and the power they have to revolutionize digital marketing effectiveness, I am always eager to share some love with organizations that have taken the leap and launched their .brand TLDs. 

In recent months we’ve seen diverse and exciting examples from BMW, the Australian Football League and CERN — just to name a notable few.

I have the privilege of advising some of the world’s largest companies on their .brand strategy, but one recurring question I hear is…

“When will we see .google and how will they use it?”

Last week, a significant installment in that answer became apparent when Google Small Business announced on Twitter and Google+ that Google Domains had permanently moved to the .brand domain name www.domains.google as its primary digital location. 

This relatively new business stream is Google’s attempt to take on companies like GoDaddy and Web.com in providing domain names, websites and associated services to SMEs and is a slick offering that blends in a range of other Google services.

It is however not the first time they’ve used their .google extension, but is certainly the most prominent.

We know Google has registered a small number of other domains under its .brand TLD, including the humorous ‘www.com.google’ which was used for an April Fools’ Day prank last year where the page appeared in reverse as if the visitor was ‘inside’ the search engine looking out at the user. Note — that feature is no longer active and users typing in that address now are redirected to the standard search homepage.

Additionally, Google launched www.registry.google as its Top-Level Domain information hub several months ago, but by its nature this site is unlikely to reach many beyond our industry. Its domain name Registrar however will receive significantly higher levels of traffic given its consumer focus, particularly when availability is opened beyond the US. 

Other domains created but not yet resolving include ‘www.nest.google’, clearly referring to Alphabet subsidiary and home automation producer Nest.

The search giant has made a conscious decision about its .brand TLD here; deciding to publicly launch and promote www.domains.google despite also owning www.google.domains. It is a great sign of things to come with many commenters already expressing interest in the likelihood of seeing www.maps.google, www.drive.google and the like in the future.

From an alternate perspective, visitors to the domain design.google will find themselves redirected to domains.google.com which is the traditional web address for Google Design.

Google has ticked all the best practice boxes in the transition, with the redirection of previous domain names to new addresses and selection of a familiar, intuitive naming structure for key activities such as the Google Domains initiatives. The launch of www.domains.google indicates a strategy forming around simple, utility-based domain names under its .google TLD, which reflect pre-existing third-level structures with the .com extension “dropped” off the end. For example, www.domains.google was previously located at domains.google.com, which now redirects.

Finally, the elephant in the room with this domain transition is the search factor. With Google dictating the world of search as its most dominant player and many of the domain name industry continually looking for updates on its treatment of new TLDs, the performance of .google and Google Registry’s other TLDs will be an interesting case to watch.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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NIC Pages Show Global Companies Accelerating .brands

NIC Pages Show Global Companies Accelerating .brands

NIC Pages Show Global Companies Accelerating .brands

The Cartier panther has a new perch. For over 100 years this elegant beast–a symbol of the French jeweler’s passion and creativity—has graced watches, rings, you name it. Now it sits regally atop the organization’s first foray into the .brand world, hosted at the web address www.nic.cartier

For many, the concept of a www.nic.brand page is a strange one. We can understand the reaction. NIC refers to Network Information Centre, an element of the domain name industry from yesteryear that has somehow made its way into the new TLD program. The NIC page of a TLD shows its policies and key contacts in the case of emergency. It’s a web page all new TLD owners are required to have ready before being “delegated,” or introduced to the Internet’s database known as the Root Zone. 

Most NIC pages aren’t as beautifully branded as Cartier’s, but a growing number are showing global companies forging ahead in innovating with their .brand TLD. Check out the highly entertaining www.nic.foxwww.nic.hermes, www.nic.microsoft, www.nic.mini, www.nic.infiniti, and www.nic.canon to name just a few examples from some of the world’s best-known brands. 

“Marriott is helping to pioneer how businesses use this new type of Top-Level Domain as an opportunity to evolve, innovate and simplify your online journeys. In the future, when you visit a .marriott website, you’ll have even more assurance that it’s from a trusted Marriott affiliation.”

On www.nic.marriott, the hotel chain speaks of “a journey beyond .com.” It adds: “Marriott is helping to pioneer how businesses use this new type of Top-Level Domain as an opportunity to evolve, innovate and simplify your online journeys. In the future, when you visit a .marriott website, you’ll have even more assurance that it’s from a trusted Marriott affiliation.”

This is a great example on how some forward-thinking brands are transforming the potentially boring NIC page into a fantastic communications tool to slowly educate their internal and external stakeholders. 

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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Bloomberg Reports Surging Interest in .brands

Bloomberg Reports Surging Interest in .brands

Bloomberg Reports Surging Interest in .brands

Because of their potential to help brands differentiate, branded Internet domains are building real momentum, according to a Bloomberg BNA Law and Electronic Commerce Report. 

“We are working with a number of folks right now who intend to use their .brand as their future digital footprint, and absolutely intend to make it a serious point of brand perception differentiation between themselves and their competitors.” 

Today well over 200 .brands have completed the approval process laid out by Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit governing body of the domain name system. Bloomberg BNA reported reported that a growing number of brands favor a second round of applications, possibly one dedicated solely to .brands. A second round has not been announced, but is widely anticipated to happen in the next few years. 

A Powerful Way to Differentiate

Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar, said that traditional ways to show difference are easy to replicate, for example, better products, service, and marketing. However, when the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) program was launched, there was a significant unknown element, requiring a highly strategic approach and innovative mindset from those brands that participated. Organizations without this vision missed the opportunity and many are now eager for the chance to join the movement.

Because .brands can differentiate so easily, Kirsch told Bloomberg BNA he expects them to drive the evolution of “digital superbrands” in the next three to five years. “We are working with a number of folks right now who intend to use their .brand as their future digital footprint,” he said, “and absolutely intend to make it a serious point of brand perception differentiation between themselves and their competitors.’’

Bloomberg BNA reported that four major market sectors are responsible for the highest concentration of .brands: banking, luxury, technology, and automakers. Stay tuned to see who else develops .brands—and how they use these assets to separate from the pack.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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