What does Icann's new gTLDs system mean for your business?
The generic top-level domains (gTLDs) programme, approved by Icann in Singapore today (20 June 2011), has seen the introduction of tailored domain name suffixes for organisations and means that rather than using a traditional .com, .net or .info domain name extension. Brands will be able to pay to use their own name as a gTLD. The shift marks one of the biggest changes ever to the way we know URL addresses.
For businesses, this represents a great opportunity to strengthen their brands. But it also presents some big challenges and companies will need to start thinking about what is best for their organisation. With this in mind, we have put together our "Top Five Tips" for businesses to consider when developing the right gTLD strategy:
- Make an informed decision about whether you want to apply to run a ".brand" extension; it is a ten-year commitment, will cost more than £1m and is a lot of work. However, if someone beats you to it, you may lose it forever.
- When putting together your strategy, involve all the major parts of the business. It is largely a marketing decision, but you will need to involve legal, IT, finance and security departments.
- Document your choice thoroughly and get your executives to buy in to the decision, as it may have implications some years from now that are not obvious today.
- If you do not apply, be prepared to object to others applying for extensions that involve your trademarks - 90 days after the application window opens (expected to be Q4 this year), all applications will be posted on Icann's website and you will have approximately six months to challenge the use of your marks.
- Whether you choose to apply or not, make sure you have a plan to protect your brand on the internet, as the horizon for abuse is about to multiply twenty fold.
For more information and frequently asked questions, visit MarkMonitor's Icann corner.
Charlie Abrahams is vice-president, EMEA, MarkMonitor, a brand protection agency. On June 23 Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor, will moderate a panel focused on the expansion of generic top level domains (gTLDs) at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Singapore Meeting.