Halftime Update on the New gTLD Field: “Dot Brand” in the Lead

FairWinds Partners —  March 5, 2012

In the fall, we wrote a “State of Play” blog post to give readers an idea of what the field of new gTLD applicants would look like once the application period opened. Well, now that we are about halfway through the application period, which will remain open for just under six weeks, it’s high time we provided readers with an update.

Back then, we could only say for certain that two companies, Canon and Hitachi, were going to pursuing a “dot brand” presence by applying for .CANON and .HITACHI. In the past few months, certain other companies have come forward about their “dot brand” plans, including StarHub, a Singapore-based telecom (.STARHUB), and the Australian Football League (.AFL). We have also heard about additional applications for other strings, including .MLS and others. That said, the vast majority of dot brand applicants are still keeping their plans under wraps.

Here at FairWinds, the majority of our clients are strategic companies, many of which have globally recognized brands. For the most part, they are also choosing the “dot brand” path for new gTLDs, registering their primary company names and brands, and in some instances, a selection of their brands that correspond to major products or services.

Not all new gTLDs operated by strategic companies will fall under the “dot brand” categorization, though. Certain clients have chosen to pursue “dot generic” strings as new gTLDs, mostly terms that correspond to their industry or a product category that they represent.

As we mentioned in a previous post, ICANN has not specifically recognized these .BRAND strings in the Applicant Guidebook, making no distinction between “dot brand” and “dot anything else” (except for community-based applications). But from our experience so far, it appears that once all the applications are in and posted on or around May 1, 2012, we will see that a significant portion are for “dot brand” strings.