While it doesn’t happen all the time, every now and then I find myself navigating to a webpage containing a unique TLD extension. However, I’m not speaking of the traditional gTLDs such as .Link, .Tech, .Win. What I’m talking about are the TLDs that a company has secured for their own brand.
There are several costs involved with securing and operating a brand TLD. During the first round/window for .Brand applications in 2012, the cost of submitting Specification 13 to ICANN was $185,000 USD.
Once an application has successfully passed all the evaluation steps, the applicant is required to sign a Registry Agreement with ICANN. Under the agreement, there are two fees: (a) a fixed fee of $6,250 USD per calendar quarter; (b) and a transaction fee of $0.25 USD. The latter does not apply until and unless more than 50,000 transactions have occurred in the TLD during any calendar quarter or any four calendar quarter period. All relevant information regarding costs can be found on ICANN.
Unlike an ‘open’ or ‘generic’ TLD where the general public can register a domain with the preferred extension (i.e. .accountant), ‘brand’ TLDs are domain extensions applied for by companies/trademark holders in which the owning company has complete exclusivity to register domains. Some examples of .Brand TLDs include .Nike, .Google, .Alibaba, .NFL, etc. Authentic Web provides a list of brands that have applied for their .Brand TLD here.
In order to be eligible to apply for a .Brand TLD, you must first hold a registered and active trademark for the extension in which you are applying.
Here are other listed requirements:
- Only Registry Operator, its Affiliates
or Trademark Licensees are registrants of domain names in the
TLD and control the DNS records
associated with domain names at
any level in the TLD.
- The TLD being applied for is not a
currently existing Generic TLD (i.e.
- Registry Operator has provided
ICANN with an accurate and
complete copy of such trademark
Trademark holders looking to apply for a .Brand TLD must apply via Specification 13. All information regarding applications for brand
TLDs can be found here.
There are several reasons in which 664 companies applied for a brand TLD in 2012. Of these, the first that comes to mind is the shorter, more memorable domain that can be created and utilized for a company brand. Think of maps.google.com VS maps.google, maps.google is inherently easier to remember and navigate too.
Brand awareness and navigation enhances as consumers are able to more easily access a company’s products or services – maps.google.
Companies can secure their virtual real estate online without the risk of trademark infringement – the .Brand TLD owner retains control of the Registry and can select who is able to utilize their extension.
A .Brand TLD is also a great way for marketing affiliates to interact with the product or service they are marketing. For instance, .Nike can provide one of its marketing affiliates with a specific .Nike domain (i.e. AthleticFootwear.nike) to not only allow ease of navigation to the Nike brand, it will also bring more brand credibility to the consumer.