Dot brands: Key standouts from 2019 and a look forward to 2020

 

It’s now seven years since ICANN opened the door to brands who wanted to own their own space on the Internet with a dot Brand. 2019 has seen continued steady growth in activity from those who applied in the first round. 2020 will see further use cases which extend use and further progress with round 2.

Key dot brand standouts from 2019

Full Migrations

2019 saw some significant migrations like .KPMG and .LECLERC, joining the small but growing number of registries who have migrated their primary corporate website (from a .COM domain) over to their dot brand. In many cases the old .COM domain now redirects to the new dot brand website. For example, KPMG’s global network now operates under HOME.KPMG.

Microsites

A dot brand provides freedom and flexibility to create any domain name at will, making it easy to launch campaigns with evocative and memorable domain names. Ownership of the registry ensures complete control over lifespan and prevents misuse of lapsed domain names. A good example seen in 2019 was XMAS.LIDL.

Social Media

Dot brand domains are instinctively memorable, short and appealing, good for URL shorteners and evocative social media branding. Some examples of URL shorteners we saw in 2019 include GRP.HSBC, GO.ZARA and ON.CITI.

Looking forward to 2020

In 2020 we can expect a growing number of brands to make the full transition as confidence in the process of migrating to their dot brand increases and acceptance of the names rises.

We’ll also see other business uses including:

Transactional use sites

Consumers trust a site under a dot brand domain to take them to authentic goods or services. Infringers can easily register a variation of a .com or other unrestricted TLD to direct Internet users to fraudulent or sinister content.

A site under a dot brand domain has integrity and trust as it is under the full control of the brand. The French national railway provider, SNCF, migrated its official on-line ticket and information portal to OUI.SNCF. Every month over a million customers arrange their travel through this dot brand supported portal, spending billions in confidence.

Consolidation under a core brand

Companies are realising that their dot brand can be a useful tool in helping them to consolidate products and services under their core brand, assisting with reinforcing the brand in the market. We have already seen a number of organisations utilising their dot brands in this way, including .ABBOTT, .WEIR, and .SAXO.

Round 2 of new gTLDs

As regular readers will know, currently there is not a definite date for the next round of new gTLDs and the opportunity to own your own dot Brand. There is a process that will be followed by the ICANN community to reach an open window for applications. Of course, most brands really aren’t that interested in the workings of ICANN, the global administrative body for domain names, but the work of this body will determine when and, importantly, how further dot brands can be applied for. It’s safe to say that there will be progress in 2020 and we will keep you updated on it.

Nevertheless, forward-thinking brands are already looking at the opportunities a dotBrand can offer them and how it may assist them in achieving a range of business objectives. The growing number of companies making use of their dot brands will provide further real-world evidence and inspiration for how the value of a dot brand can be realised.

You can keep track of the latest dot brand uses at observatory.domains

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