CoreBiz Solutions

The gTLD Program – General Update

Three and a half years have passed since the gTLD application window opened in early 2012. Since that date, 2000 initial applications have so far turned into 703 new top-level domains containing over 6,500,000 domains[1].

These encouraging statistics do, however, present themselves slightly differently when we look at the split of brand activity versus generic top-level domain activity (TLD).

It is fair to say there are a number of non-brand new TLDs that are showing relatively strong registration volumes. From .xyz, which occupies the top-spot at over a million registrations, the top-five looks like this[2]:

NewgTLD

Putting to one-side the promotional routes taken by some registries to increase their ‘Domains Registered’ number, we would say that the figures are looking relatively healthy given the relative low public visibility and nearly non-existent marketing carried out by ICANN, the program overseers.

The years ahead for non-brand TLDs (those that accept registrations from the general public, in the majority) will no doubt see a number of them fall away with only those that ‘catch the eye’ or have hugely successful registry led marketing campaigns succeeding in the long term.

However, where does this leave a company looking to protect itself in the online space? As the number of generic TLDs increase, so do the requirements on businesses in terms of protecting their assets and brands online.

Supplementing existing protection mechanisms such as The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Cease and Desist Letters with the programs new mechanisms creates, in our view, a strong security vault for brand owners. New measures include the:

Sunrise Process

[1] Source – https://ntldstats.com/tld as at 16th July 2015

[2] As above

A healthy choice now presents itself to brand owners looking to take action against those infringing on its intellectual property rights online. However, each measure has its pros and cons and must be weighed against the potential cost of action, negative exposure and PR and internal process and procedures that need to be considered across different teams (corporate, legal, HR). Getting the balance right is crucial and companies must remember the need to:

One thing is clear to us and remains central to our client discussions. Understanding the road ahead is a critical delivery item. Remember cellphones from the mid-nineties, the perception began with pessimism and a ‘toy’ reserved for the super wealthy, ‘show-off’ businessman. Less than 20 years on cellphones are now a staple of our everyday lives with some of you probably reading this post on a mobile device.

The innovation brought about by the gTLD program is likely to affect the lives of businesses, consumers and suppliers at all levels and early adoption is nothing to be sniffed at.

Here at CoreBiz Solutions we recommend a light-touch evaluation of a brands existing domain portfolio, its policies and activities to date in the legacy and new gTLD space. By adopting an ‘eyes-wide open’ approach there is every reason to look at the gTLD program as a positive step for all involved.

In our next post we look at the early brand movers and what this might signify for other brands that have applied for their own gTLD.

Author: Fredrik Salde

Partner, CoreBiz Solutions