A simple question every .brand applicant should ask their consultant today

With deadline looming for partial refund, now is the time for TLD applicants to do a gut check.

They aren’t quite dropping like flies, but .brand top level domain applicants are starting to pull out.

GM is withdrawing all of its bids. Hasbro is gone. Eli Lilly pulled one of its drug names.

Suddenly, I suspect a lot of brand owners will rethink their decision to apply for a new top level domain — especially those beyond their core brand.

Although GM gave a general reason for withdrawing its applications, there’s a rather simple question every .brand applicant should ask the consultant that talked them into applying for a domain in the first place:

“What’s one thing I’ll be able to do with this TLD that I can’t do with my existing .com domain?”

I have yet to hear a single good answer to this question.

Like I’ve said over and over, it’s possible that there’s a good answer and people are keeping innovative ideas close to the chest. And if your consultant can give one to you, by all means carry on.

Otherwise, you should seriously consider the value of your application.

In GM’s case it would be rather silly to manage all of these top level domains for their brands. It’s probably hard enough to manage all of their second level domains for each brand. Creating top level domains would not eliminate the need for those second levels they already have.

Cadillac.com isn’t going away anytime soon.


  1. says

    Here’s one thing:

    Full control over your second level.

    If the new gTLD and dot-brand concepts take off, brands won’t have to worry so much about cybersquatting.

    Today, most brands today don’t bother enforcing their trademarks in, for example .pro. If in future they have a dot-brand that people recognize, trust and use, they won’t have to bother enforcing their brands in .com either.

  2. says


    Here’s what I interpret you are saying. Tell me where I don’t have this right…

    In the future every brand has their own top level domain. No one uses .com any more for a business web site, so people don’t go there. They always look for something at .brand.

    Because no one is using .com for business sites, all internet users instinctively go to the .brand. Businesses also don’t bother registering second level domains in any other new TLDs because all people looking for them will come to their .brand instead.

  3. says

    Not every business, obviously, will get a dot-brand. Even when it gets cheaper to apply I imagine it will remain out of the grasp of most small companies.

    But if you’re a customer of Wells Fargo, say, and you’ve been trained to only trust .wellsfargo addresses, you’re unlikely to trust wellsfargo-evil-login-spoof.com, and Wells Fargo doesn’t need to spend as much time and money enforcing its brand in .com in other TLDs (where, let’s face it, most brands don’t bother anyway).

    That’s the theory, anyway. Whether it happens or not is another matter entirely. You asked for something you can’t do in .com, and this is something you can’t do in .com.

    The whole point of the new gTLD program is to get people like you, Andrew, to stop thinking about the DNS as if there’s only one TLD.

  4. says

    The phishing argument has always baffled me.

    The fact that people fall for addresses like wellsfargo-evil-login-spoof.com shows that they aren’t paying attention to what domain they’re going to, anyway.

  5. says

    Well, my example domain was deliberately stupid to illustrate a point. Phishers are usually a lot less obvious, and they exploit the fact that many companies *do* use multiple .com domains in their email marketing. With a dot-brand, marketers could use as many second-level domains as they wanted to whilst retaining the integrity of their brand.

    • says

      No, I’ve seen a lot of URL that are about as bad as that or that don’t even include the brand. People still fall for them. Most of the time they click on an email hyperlink and don’t even see where it’s going.

      The people that fall for phishing scams will never understand that there’s safety and .brand vs. something left of the dot.

  6. says

    That’s true. All the data shows that there’s not a massive amount of crossover between phishing and cybersquatting.

    I may have confused my point, which was originally about cybersquatting, not phishing.

    Companies with dot-brands won’t have to stop fighting phishing attacks, but they may be able to stop worrying so much about cybersquatting.

  7. says


    “The fact that people fall for addresses like wellsfargo-evil-login-spoof.com shows that they aren’t paying attention to what domain they’re going to, anyway.”

    Unfortunately many times phishing websites have much more deceptive urls (like
    www-wellsfargo.com) even an expert surfer can fall for if they don’t pay enough attention.

  8. ChuckWagen says

    Andrew raises a great point about why a company would want the major headache of juggling multiple TLDs for their individual brands.

    K.I.S.S. would apply

  9. Rubens Kuhl says

    Our dot brands are mostly media groups, and they seem to know pretty well what they are going to do with their TLDs.

    A manufacturer of physical goods like GM or Hasbro doesn’t get the same value from brand TLDs that an online service (like digital media) or online+offline service (link banks) get.

    It’s also possible that some brands get more value from a good new TLD that is not their brands’. For instance, baltimoreravens.com and http://www.baltimoreravens are pretty much the same, while baltimoreravens.nfl baltimore.nfl ravens.nfl would be much better to have than it’s own TLD.

  10. says

    One of the primary benefits of a brand owning its own top level domain is its ability to use it for accelerating its digital strategy, capturing important data that is more robust than in dot com, as well as being prepared for a paradigm shift being led by Google and Amazon and 900+ new generic terms that will antiquate dot com within five years. For a large brand, $185,000 is a 30 second ad that doesn’t work – not a lot of risk given the potential market advantage.

    • says


      I understand that $185k isn’t much to spend for a large company.

      But I still can’t find any example of how a company will “accelerate its digital strategy”. I’ve ready your book, and it has a lot of great ideas, but all of them can be done on .com. In many cases, because of restrictions in place from ICANN, it’s actually easier to do some of the things on an existing TLD instead of a new TLD (e.g. third level domains vs. second level domains).

      So far the best I’ve heard from people is “it’s not much money” and “you never know, maybe you’ll be able to do something cool with it”.

      That’s fine for a lot of large companies, but it’s also fair for companies to really ask themselves why they’re making these efforts.

  11. Com King says

    .com will continue to be king. Would you purchase the following domains without the .com version?


    etc. etc. etc.

  12. Com King says

    There will be unlimited opportunities for new applications with the names. However, the effect is mostly going to increase the value of the .coms and 90% of the new extensions will remain marginalized.

  13. Roberto Gaetano says

    Just a couple of questions.
    How much does it cost to purchase and maintain your own TLD?
    How much does it cost to purchase and maintain dozens of SLDs in different TLDs?
    Which makes more sense in the medium-long term?

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