New gTLDs! 3 Reasons Why This is A Fearless Opportunity

by Statton Hammock on July 1, 2011


I’ve never been a fan of horror movies and mainly that’s because I don’t like being scared for no good reason and giving myself nightmares.   I prefer action movies because they are fast-paced, filmed in very cool, exotic locations, and have the hottest actresses and actors playing the lead roles.

I think people should be viewing the ICANN Board’s historic announcement last week to launch new generic top-level domain names (“new gTLDs”) as an action movie rather than as a horror movie – something exciting to watch, not something that will keep you up at night.

In a recent article in the World Trademark Review Verizon’s Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Sarah Deutch, complains that the rights protection mechanisms for the approved new gTLD program are too weak to be of any use to brand owners.  What Ms. Deutch and others fear is rampant cybersquatting and abuse.  However, new gTLDs will not be like the old .COMs.

Brand owners should not view the new gTLDs one-dimensionally; that is, only as something scary which they are forced to deal with because of a fear of having to file hundreds of defensive registrations.

Here are 3 reasons for brand owners to consider this a fearless opportunity:

  • Think of new gTLDs as an opportunity to control internet real estate for yourself and create new content, products, and marketing strategies around your “.brand.”  For example, Canon, the camera company, has come up with at least one good idea around a new product and service using .CANON.
  • ICANN stakeholders in the policy making process have spent more than three years developing rights protection mechanisms for trademark owners and a more rapid means to deal with cyber-squatting.
  • Registry Operators who apply for new gTLDs will be required to implement all of these measures and will also be asked to create tighter restrictions on second level use.  So, these most gTLDs will not be managed, operated, or distributed like .COM. The will be more limited, more protected, and more secure.

Now that ICANN has officially launched the new gTLD program and has a timeline for applications, I think you will see the more innovative brand owners working on plans to launch their own “.brand” as a new marketing or product channel.  My only concern is that once these business models become known, the brand owners that have cowered in fear and decided not to think strategically and apply for their own “.brand” will miss the application window and therefore miss out on a tremendous opportunity.  The result will be them relegated to watching this action movie from the back row while their competitors are the “sexy” actors in the lead roles.

ICANN didn’t create a terrifying Frankenstein’s monster, instead it created a Jason Bourne – creative, adaptable, passionate and fun to watch.

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