Branded domain name suffixes get go-ahead

Domain names: brands set to buy unique domains following Icann decision
Domain names: brands set to buy unique domains following Icann decision

The variety of online domain names is set to explode following today's landmark decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to allow web address names to end with almost any word in any language, including a branded suffix.

At a special meeting, Icann's board approved the plan to dramatically increase the number of internet domain name endings – called generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

Icann is planning a concerted awareness campaign across the globe.

New suffixes, beyond the current 22 such as ".com", ".org" and ".net", will start appearing in 2012 and could be categorised by brand, ethnicity and geography.

However, not all marketers are convinced by the idea. Andrew Morley, vice-president of marketing EMARA at Motorola, said last month that the brand was committed to its existing site.

But other companies, such as Canon, Hitachi, IBM and Uniced are more enthusiastic about the changes and are expected to be the first to buy the unique domains with Canon publicly stating that it will apply for ".canon".

According to digital brand consultancy Melbourne IT, which is helping 150 global brands with their domain strategies, 92% of its clientele will opt for a ".brand" domain name, while 11% said they were interested in applying for a generic suffix such as ".bank" or ".hotel".

The firm's research found that brands from the entertainment and financial services industries are the most likely to make early applications for ".brand" domains.

Applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from between 12 January and 12 April 2012 and will incur a fee of $185,000 (£114,000). But costs for brands will extend beyond the fee charge and there are concerns that the proliferation of new domains will confuse consumers.

Mikhail Basman, head of search at MPG Media Contacts, said: "The process is going to be costly for brands as they will have to buy the domain names, extend their search keywords, optimise search and raise consumer awareness.

"Consumers know the distinction between .com,  and .gov, so as long as brands maintain their dotcom domain during the transition to the new register, they should be all right. These brands, however, will need to have a transition plan in place."

Speaking today (20 June), Rod Beckstrom, Icann's president and chief executive, said: "Icann has opened the internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination.

"Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind."

The new gTLDs will revolutionise the way in which consumers find information online, Icann said.

Peter Dengate Thrush, the chairman of Icann's board of directors, said: "Today's decision will usher in a new internet age. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration."

Today's decision has been reached following years of discussion and debate involving stakeholders from the online community, businesses and governments.

Icann has produced an Applicant Guidebook that explains how brands can apply for a new gTLD. The book went though seven major revisions following more than 1,000 comments from the public, including those voicing concerns about security.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message