If you're a rights holder and you've seen the latest dot brands coming online and are interested in applying for your own dot brand in ICANN's round 2 new gTLD applications window, then this is the place to start...
Global businesses from Apple to Yandex have laid claim to their own home on the internet by establishing their own dot brand registry. Now there are over 500 Dot Brands like .barclays, .sky and .microsoft in operation.
We’re seeing new digital strategies from the market leaders, with some businesses like BNP Paribas and Weir Group transferring their whole web infrastructure to their new dot brand domains. We’re seeing others testing the market and setting up specific microsites under their dot brands and others who have yet to place content in their space. Although still only in the early stages of roll out, all are learning just how they might steal a march on their competitors and create their own protected brand space on the internet.
So, now you want to establish your own registry and create a space on the internet for your community or brand.
Why apply for a dot brand?
- To create a new digital home for your brand
- To protect your intellectual property
- To provide a better user experience, more customer centric design and task-orientated navigation
- To build a platform for innovation
- To communicate more effectively under one globally applicable master brand
- To enhance security and stability through greater direct control of a commerce-critical asset
So you've established why you want a dot brand, what now?
The first thing to do is to bear in mind that the next window (round 2 or subsequent procedures) for applications isn't likely to be until 2019 - that doesn't mean you should stop doing anything now - in fact, now is the right time to start preparing. The first step in preparation is a feasibility study which helps brand owners and communities to understand the new gTLD process and assess the impact of their potential new dot brand domain. Would owning and operating your own registry support your brand positioning, offer stronger rights protection, or present a new commercial opportunity? Do the practical benefits of security outweigh the risks? Can the costs be justified?
The next round (or subsequent procedures)
The other important to thing to bear in mind is the process that will be followed by the ICANN community to reach an open window for applications.
Most brands really aren't that interested in the workings of ICANN, the global administrative body for domain names, but the work of this body will determine when and, importantly, how further dot brands can be applied for. At the moment there are two streams of work happening at ICANN which will determine the outcome for future dot brands.
1. Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) review - will determine any modifications to the existing RPMs needed for the second round to go ahead
2. Subsequent procedures review - will determine any changes to the last policies and procedures to be followed to allow a new round (or possibly permanently open window) of applications
Only when these two processes are complete and ICANN has implemented any policy recommendations, will the new application window open. It will be important to be prepared for this window opening and be ready to respond to all the questions that will be laid out to apply for your new name. If you're interested in finding out more, or even getting involved in shaping the next round by getting involved in the ICANN processes, then do get in touch with us.