ICANN recently announced that it may open a second round of the New gTLD Program as early as late 2016.
While 2016 still sounds pretty far away, companies that are considering applying for a .BRAND or .GENERIC should begin assessing its value soon in order to allow enough time to make an informed decision.
Here are five things to consider when analyzing the value of a new gTLD for your company:
1. Who in your Industry has a new gTLD?
Do some research and learn who in your Industry applied for a new gTLD in the 1st round of applications.
If a lot of companies from your industry applied for their own .BRAND or .GENERIC in the 1st round, you should evaluate the risks of staying out of the next application round.
Even if no brands in your industry applied for a new gTLD, or very few of them did, applying for one in the 2nd round would be an opportunity to innovate within your industry.
Also ask yourself:
- What other new gTLDs are already out there?
- How are they being used?
- Do they draw in Internet users or show up in search?
Looking at .BRANDs and .GENERICs in this way will provide insight into the possibilities for new gTLDs and the potential future use and importance of gTLDs within your industry.
2. Will a .BRAND or .GENERIC support your current and future branding and marketing goals?
Examine your Digital Analytics.
- Are your online metrics showing any current gaps in success that could be improved by getting and using your own gTLDs?
Examine your Target Audiences.
- Can a new gTLD help you better cater to some or all of your audiences?
3. Can a .BRAND help with your online security goals?
A .BRAND can provide an added level of security online and increase consumer trust. This can be crucial to:
- Highly-Regulated Industries
Companies such as financial services, may migrate to their .BRAND gTLD since it provides a more secure space for consumer interaction.
Similarly, for companies selling products and services online, a .BRAND gTLD provides a more secure space for online payment.
4. Can a new gTLD help your Current Domain Portfolio?
A new gTLD can help solve domain ownership gaps and assist with online brand protection. Specifically in one of these areas:
- Domain Ownership Gaps
New gTLDs provide the opportunity to own any term to the left of the dot, whereas those same terms are probably already snapped up in .COM.
- Brand Protection/Infringement
If your company experiences a lot of trademark infringement in the domain space, you could use a .BRAND to communicate to consumers that the content within your gTLD is legitimate and trustworthy.
5. Are you prepared for the new gTLD application process and fulfilling the requirements of owning and using a .BRAND or .GENERIC?
When applying for a gTLD, there are tactical, procedural, and cost requirements associated with the application process. In addition, there are responsibilities related to running a gTLD registry.
- Application Process
In order to apply for a gTLD, the applicant must be able to show it has the technical and financial capabilities to operate a new gTLD. This usually includes partnering with third-parties that can provide required services.
- Requirements for Running a gTLD Registry
Owning a gTLD requires on-going compliance with ICANN’s terms and policies. Examples include monthly reporting on registry functions, registration requirements (especially for .BRANDs), and dispute resolution procedures.
Analyzing these five areas will allow you to make an educated decision on whether owning a new gTLD is right for your company.