I think that for some types of companies, such as those in consumer electronics, the decision to file for a ‘dot brand’ TLD may not be that difficult. If consumers are performing a lot of their pre-purchase research online, and are even purchasing online (think DVRs and cameras), then even a small amount of diversion, lawful or unlawful, by typo-sites, adwords, grey goods, etc., can add up to significant lost sales. The possibility of improved SEO and the creation of a ‘trusted’ distribution network may well pay for the TLD. I’m not surprised that CANON and HITACHI are among the early brand owners who have indicated their intention to file for TLDs.
The decision for a brand owner whose product line is not quite as consumer-facing, is a little more problematic. I was talking to a client at a Fortune 500 company that is primarily B2B and whose marketing department is not quite as sold on the TLD opportunity. The in-house lawyer asked what are other companies like his doing? He suggested that there be some means for in-house counsel to share comments and experiences on the new gTLDs.
OK, tell you what. You can use the comment field here, or email me and I’ll anonymze your comments. I hope you’ll contribute on the following:
1. What are the strongest arguments within your company for applying for a new gTLD?
2. What are the strongest arguments against?
3. Is your company contemplating an ‘open’ registry where your customers may utilize domain names reflecting your brand, or a ‘closed’ registry where your company owns all second level domain names?