The DotBrand question and how to answer it


    - by Stuart Fuller, Head of Brand Services -

    Since the new gTLD application window closed in 2012, there have been over 75 DotBrands terminated by their owners, with the latest one being DotJCP, which was owned by Texas-based JCP Media Inc. They join an illustrious list of organisations who have terminated their DotBrand applications including Hilton International, Intel, McDonalds, Ladbrokes and Telefonica – all global brands, who will have strategic marketing plans to address their digital channels. Whilst some such as DotBond, DotMonster and DotBaby have been repurposed as generic TLDs, most will never see the light of day again.

    Each applicant back in 2012 had very clear reasons for applying for a DotBrand, the core reason for most was the protection of their brand name in the competitive digital environment. If anything, that landscape has got more competitive and any advantage a brand has today needs to be furiously defended. Those organization that did apply for their own DotBrand ultimately have a unique asset over many of their competitive peers but only if they choose to use it.

    Advantages of a DotBrand

    The key benefits that a DotBrand delivers to an organization are the same today as they were nearly ten years ago. Whilst the risks and rewards of being present online have evolved, with more and more consumers joining the world wide web on a daily basis, the constant for brand holders is the need to provide a secure and stable environment for their customers today and tomorrow. Each stakeholder within the organization has own priorities from the DotBrand, which include:

    • Building a trusted, secure space on the Internet, which moves them ahead of the competition.In such a fiercely competitive digital environment, the ability to be able to control who is registering and actively using domains unique to the organization is a major advantage.
    • Creating a better user experience is paramount, with the ability to create shortened URL structures that make hierarchical sense and also increases the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization and Marketing spend.
    • Defining a robust security policy by ensuring that all domain names are encrypted and thus any digital communication between user and organization are secure.
    • Being innovative by creating individual user experiences such as issuing domain names to customers that act as digital identities for them.
    • Reducing core infrastructure costs though significantly reducing defensive domain name registrations, the need to use third-party DNS and being able to stay on top of any cyber security threats.
    • Leading with a secure, trusted and reliable digital space that reduces the costs in protecting intellectual property – “if it isn’t our name to the right of the dot it isn’t us”.

    An own DotBrand needs planning and advice

    These defining reasons are not only important for existing DotBrand holders but are also important for future applicants who sooner rather than later need to consider whether they will see a return on investment in applying for and adopting a DotBrand for their organization. In fact, some organizations have already started their next generation digital strategy by engaging with organizations such as BrandShelter and their DotBrand Solutions consultancy to create the digital brand objectives that a DotBrand can deliver across the whole organization.

    Over the next few weeks, we will explore the reasons in more detail and outline what steps any potential applicant should be considering today with our DotBrand Solutions experts.

    Coming next – The DotBrand advantage: How brand holders can create a better user experience for their customers.