The domain name structure and ICANN rules hamper .brand domains.
Earlier this week, ICANN issued a notice from Honeywell stating that it wishes to terminate its .honeywell domain name. These domains, with a mark after the period, are commonly referred to as .brand top-level domain names.
They have been integrated into the existing framework for top-level domains, making them difficult to use in innovative ways. A few comments on my post on Honeywell’s withdrawal underscore this.
A commentator, who goes by Snoopy, asked what should go to the left of the dot in a .brand domain for the company’s main website. He said that www.brand is a possibility.
John Berryhill responded and highlighted some of the challenges of .brand domains:
Okay, but they would have to all adopt the same protocol to have any hope of “guessing”. But you fully understood that the words are in the wrong order, as I also heard from the brand manager of a major car manufacturer. Many other .brand TLDs are going to be scrapped because they were obtained on the basis of a limited window of time to apply for them, so many of the applications were simply exercises to avoid a wasted opportunity to get something they could understand. later if they wanted to use. (and, yes, encouraged by the ICANN Consulting Corps)
In order to advertise the “home” destination in a .brand TLD, the brand owner, with potentially billions of goodwill value associated with his brand, must choose another word and give it the “first bill”. On its marquee, before their mark. I’m especially tough if you’re, say, Yamaha, and make everything from concert pianos to motorcycles. It would be one thing if wildcard DNS were allowed, but it is not since ICANN’s revenue model is based on 2LD’s registration volume. This also excludes any “TLD as database” application, such as the ability to use (product serial number) .brand in service, support, or warranty applications.
Having control of one’s own DNS data up to the highest level may be of marginal use, but there is little practical value for .brand TLDs. Now of course someone with something to sell can show up here and argue otherwise, but there is no denying the fact that you have a better chance of seeing a snow leopard than a .brand TLD with substantial use. . It’s going to get harder to impose them on brand owners against the growing desert of discarded .brand TLDs, so I can certainly understand the urgency.
One of the best arguments for these things was from Joe Alagna, then from Centralnic, who explained that early email addresses, such as those through Compuserve, would look like “(numeric) @ compuserve.net”, which doesn’t made no brand impression. Later, you could get “(brand) @ earthlink.net” which included the brand, but still advertised Earthlink. Then it became easier to get addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org which eliminated advertising for the provider, but implicitly “always advertises” Verisign as the .com registry. Joe might get you to buy sand in the desert if you listen long enough.
The point is, generic TLDs like .com are just that – generic. No one associates a particular brand with .com or other gTLDs (unless they are in the domain of the domain), so these are blank canvases that don’t detract from the commercial impression of a URL. or an e-mail address.
It will be a challenge unless or until ICANN changes the way these domains can be used. Even then, it will be an uphill battle.
For the pro-brand perspective, listen to this podcast.