Real world .brand insights from a Brand Management Professional
By Tony Kirsch – Head of Professional Services, Neustar
Here’s a consistent story from our clients that’s becoming commonplace as we travel the world sharing the .brand story.
A new person comes into domain management. They’re technically astute, but find themselves managing a large portfolio of domains, sometimes tens of thousands of names. There is a sense that this is more of a historical benefit to the business than a current one – especially with the clear data indicating that the vast majority of them are not receiving noticeable volumes of traffic.
Nonetheless, the portfolio is maintained in order to mitigate risky domain non-renewal, helping to keep the IP professionals comfortable, and avoiding BEC scams to clients/customers.
A large amount of time and money is spent in managing these domains, and despite the efforts of the domain management team to advocate their strategy and business purpose, they are constantly digging up websites that have been created by some well-intentioned individuals who weren’t aware of the internal domain registration policies. The process to acquire these domains and put them onto the companies centralized domain platform has to be done – but it’s never as easy as it should be and finds the domain manager generally spending hours chasing employee owners.
One such client at a global advisory firm, who has asked to remain anonymous, recalls their first reactions to finding out that their company had their own .brand TLD.
“I saw the immediate value of the .brand in terms of running our business unit and cutting costs. From the domain management perspective, we’re always being asked to create domains for areas across our global business – and increasingly, these are not available and force us into expensive campaigns to purchase domains. Having our .brand allowed us to create the domains that we wanted, in real time, without fear of availability or expensive purchase prices.”
This is a common experience that we hear from our clients. Often what starts as a key reason to use their .brand turns into a range of downstream benefits that were previously not apparent.
Similar client experiences reveal a pivotal moment where the downstream benefits changed things substantially.
A global financial services client shared such a moment for their firm.
“As we experimented with our .brand, we found that its capability was so much deeper than we had expected. We completed a couple of test cases with our .brand which created a significant amount of internal interest. We took the opportunity to collaborate with Marketing to define the ‘perfect end state’ for our Brand utilizing our .brand. The elimination of one off domains, and the defensive portfolio, for limited campaigns reduced our domain portfolio costs and significantly increased global Brand awareness. It also provided an easier way to track campaign effectiveness”
Not only did we increase the awareness of the Brand Management function through our usage of .brand, we also created significantly less subdomains on our main .com site. We see this as a significant advantage for managing and securing the site as we have over 1000 subdomains off our main site today.
In the past, managing all the subdomains on our .com Zone File was significantly more complicated and very difficult to track. In reality, this was fundamentally riskier for the organization due to constant changes to our core Zone File and we were regularly finding traffic going to the wrong place as promotions or products died off but were not updated within the main site’s Zone File.
With our new focus on using our .brand, management and ownership of the domains are easier to track and when a promotion is over, we can simply remove the domain or forward the traffic to the main .com page. This reduced the risk of domains being used for fraudulent purposes.
With our .brand, we manage it completely and no-one can access the TLD, or take over a domain which we feel will create much less confusion long term – especially when these historical subdomains were allocated to third parties.