.brands 2020 in Review

2020 may have been one of the most challenging years in modern times, but when it comes to the .brand industry we continue to see consistent growth and evolving usage across the world.

So as the year winds down and we begin our preparations for some much needed time with friends and family, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the biggest news items from 2020 and see what was achieved this year with .brand TLDs.

1. Google are way ahead of the pack 

There’s simply no other way to say it – Google are leading the way when it comes to .brand usage and most importantly, teaching us all that a full usage model for a .brand can co-exist with the primary .com domain remaining unchanged.

Over the last few years, we’ve noticed a pretty substantial amount of activity with Google’s branded TLD, as they created microsites across a range of corporate (about.google), social (pride.google) and key information (blog.google) initiatives. In 2020, this expansion has continued but is seemingly the new home for any new Google product release that doesn’t require sign in.

This year alone we’ve seen a number of great launches with .google, but perhaps none as widely publicized as the Google TV product which resides at tv.google and has been promoted across US media including the NBA Finals and other mainstream events.

And just last week Google launched this amazing view of the year in search using .google

Similarly, .youtube has been very active, following the .google lead in terms of expanding from corporate info domains (blog.youtube) into really significant promotions. We blogged about two major ones – lifeinaday.youtube and rewind.youtube – earlier this year which were our favorite .brand sites for the year and we are very excited to see what happens in 2021 with these two global powerhouse brands.


2. COVID-19 domains highlight utility for .brand owners 

Over 20 COVID-19 related domains were created this year by a range of firms extending from Pharmaceuticals through to Technology and Logistics. As we’ve mentioned in our blogs earlier this year, having the ability to register domains in your own extension gives .brand owners a significant advantage in terms of speed, efficiency and cost savings.

Domains such as coronavirus.dhl, coronavirus.fox or covid19.google all demonstrate how large corporations can quickly spin up domains to meet the needs of their Communications Department, without worrying about excessive costs or complicated aftermarket purchases that exist in other TLDs.

Furthermore, as end-users continue to experience and ultimately expect these sorts of URLs in marketing, continued gains in consumer trust will be of significant benefit to brand owners already faced with substantial challenges in the online world.


3. The .brand community is slowly stepping out of the policy and compliance shadows 

Ever since the first .brand launch in 2014, the comparatively lower registration volumes that exist in .brands compared to other generic top-level domains have given cause for some to question the success of .brands.

For many of us in the .brand community, this has always been a ridiculous assertion given the power of a single domain to a big campaign which could have immeasurable impact on changing behavior on the internet. Yet it is reasonable to admit that CMO’s around the world have been slow in many cases to embrace the .brand benefits and consequently, much of the industry discussion still focuses on policy and compliance issues rather than discussions regarding commercial benefit.

Whilst we at makeway.world have always tried to share the stories of .brand usage, we have been buoyed this year to be joined by some industry journalists and the trade association for .brands – The Brand Registry Group (BRG) – who themselves have produced numerous blogs and webinars that share real world use cases from .brands for the benefit of others.

This is a significant pivot and a testament of the progress made this year to see the industry shedding some of its historical skin and moving into education on using .brand to develop genuine ROI.


4. Industry statistics show annual increase of 15% 

We won’t spoil the surprise for our .brands Industry Report which will be released in Q1 next year, but 2020 data to date shows a consistent 15% growth in .brand domain registrations this year.

Similar growths in the levels of usage, redirection and resolving domains appear likely also for 2020 which confirms a very consistent year-on-year performance across the sector.

We’re also seeing some of the previously quiet industries beginning to get involved with the .brand and dozens of first time .brand users again which is great to see.


5. We’re feeling pretty excited about .godaddy 

OK, this one might be a little self-serving… but hey, it’s our end of year blog so we’re going with it!

As most of you will know, the Neustar Registry team were incredibly proud to join the GoDaddy family earlier this year and equally as proud to be the first major property launched on the .godaddy TLD – www.registry.godaddy

We’d had a lot of success with the .neustar project over the years and had spent a lot of time and effort sharing that journey with the .brand community and we’re excited to report that we’ll be doing more of the same with .godaddy in 2021 and beyond.

So that’s it – a quick guide to the big things in the .brand world in 2020. Despite all of the challenges, we’re moving very much forward and we’re appreciative for our clients and friends who continue to join us on this journey.

On behalf of the entire GoDaddy Registry team, we wish you and your family a wonderful and relaxing holiday period and most importantly, a safe and prosperous 2021 when we will return stronger than ever before.

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


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