Branded Top Level Domains
The Internet is on the cusp of change. You've heard of .com, .net and .biz. But with the total number of Internet users now exceeding 7 billion, shouldn't there be more than just 22 generic domain extensions, such as .com and .net, to choose from?
We think so, too.
In 2012, Internet Regulators held an application process to allow companies to apply to create new Top Level Domains. A top level domain is the text to the right of the dot in an Internet domain name. For example, .com is the most popular Top Level Domain today.
The response was overwhelming.
ICANN received over 1900 applications for Top Level Domains such as .WEB, .SITE. .BMW, and .EXPRESS. Some prospective Top Level Domain operators intend to sell domain names within their new Top Level Domain to the public. Others, such as .STAPLES, intend to reserve domain names within their new Top Level Domain only for internal use.
Many of the country’s leading brands have applied to create their own Top Level Domains. Companies like Jaguar Cars Limited (.JAGUAR), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (.WALMART) and Statoil ASA (.STATOIL).
Here are a few of our favorite branded Top Level Domains (TLDs).
Applicant: Charleston Road Registry Inc. (Both Charleston Road Registry Inc. and YouTube are subsidiaries of Google. Inc.)
A channel in YouTube-speak is the home page for an account. It shows the account name, the account type, the public videos they've uploaded, and any user information they've entered. For example, some of the most popular channels today are TheEllenShow and TheSlowMoGuys.
According to the application filed with ICANN to create the .CHANNEL Top Level Domain, the .CHANNEL Top Level Domain name will be used by YouTube to provide channel content. This could mean that, in the future, you may be able to visit TheSlowMoGuys.Channel or TheEllenShow.Channel instead of going to a URL within YouTube.com website.
This is a truly innovative – and functional – use of a new Top Level Domain. Such a use of the .CHANNEL Top Level Domain would offer promotional benefits, since YouTube partners and customers could promote their Channels with a more memorable URL, and would also offer technical benefits as well, giving YouTube greater flexibility in terms of load balancing. The possibilities are endless and all of them are exciting.
Applicant: Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company
Allstate has applied to create the .GOODHANDS Top Level Domain. The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the second-largest personal insurer in the United States (behind State Farm) and the largest that is publicly held.
The Allstate application is unique because Allstate has applied to create a Top Level Domain representing part of its logo, known as the Good Hands logo. Once the .GOODHANDS Top Level Domain goes live, Allstate intends to evaluate strategies to move all of its internet traffic away from Top Level Domains such as .COM and instead use the .GOODHANDS Top Level Domain. This means that instead of visiting www.Allstate.com, web visitors may soon navigate to www.Allstate.Goodhands. It’s a clever way to remind web visitors of the “Good Hands" motto and to reinforce the brand image for Allstate each time a visitor comes to an Allstate website.
In addition to .GOODHANDS, Allstate has also applied for .ALLSTATE, .AUTOINSURANCE, and .CARINSURANCE.
Applicant: Microsoft Corporation
The Xbox is a video game console manufactured by Microsoft. Microsoft launched the original Xbox game console in 2001. The bestselling Xbox games include Halo, Call of Duty, and Gears of War.
Like most branded Top Level Domains, Microsoft Corporation stated in its application to ICANN for the .XBOX Top Level Domain that one of the purposes of the .XBOX Top Level Domain is to protect the .XBOX brand. However, DotAnything.co Inc. speculates that the .XBOX Top Level Domain could be used for so much more. Imagine a website at Halo.Xbox, where users could purchase Halo gaming products. Rather than focusing on developing one central website, Microsoft could have a host of microsites dedicated to their leading gaming platforms.
Applicant: The Gap Inc.
The Gap, Inc. has applied to create the .GAP Top Level Domain. The primary benefit of a .GAP Top Level Domain lies in branding and promotional opportunities. A .GAP Top Level Domain offers a memorable, meaningful domain extension which can be utilized to highlight Gap stores, products, and sales.
Applicant: Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
BMW has applied to create the .BMW Top Level Domain. A .BMW Top Level Domain could be utilized by dealerships as well as by corporate headquarters to provide fully branded website addresses for BMW automobiles. Imagine a website at Drive.BMW or DealershipName.BMW. The .BMW Top Level domain will allow the BMW company to brand all aspects of its communications to stakeholders.
All of the Top Level Domains above are still being evaluated by ICANN. It is expected that new Top Level Domains may become accessible by the public as early as 2014.
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