I’m still trying to understand .brand.
I’ve never understood the lure of a brand owning .brand. Yesterday Canon announced that it will launch .canon when new top level domain names are allowed. Why? I’d really like to understand everyone’s opinion on this, but let me first clear the air of common claims I hear.
If I own my .brand, I don’t need to register all of my products/services in .com. So if you’re Verizon, you won’t care anymore if someone owns VerizonFios.com, VerizonDSL.com, etc? That’s the logic a number of people espouse.
If top level domain names were freely registrable when domains first became popular, I could buy that argument. But instead we are programed to navigate based primarily on the second level domain name. Could this change? Yes, over the very long term. It will take more than just a few large brands promoting their .brand. Many years and many, many brands. Eventually the cost of registering a TLD will have to go down significantly in order for it to work. So why get your TLD now if you can wait until the typical web user catches up?
Until the typical web user understands it, .brand owners will need to alias all of their URLs to .com. If Canon runs a TV ad that says “go to www.canon”, how many people do you think will actually type in www.canon.com? For now, most people will. Eventually that will change. But lets say in 10 years 80% of people know to not type in .com at the end. It’s still a poor user experience for the 20% who still type in .com.
Aliasing/forwarding every second level domain to the top — such as usa.canon to usa.canon.com — will be a major yet necessary undertaking.
Owning .brand will eliminate phishing. Hmm. Most phishing I see is done at domain names completely unrelated to the brand’s name. So unless everyone who gets duped from those scams suddenly wakes up, I don’t see this helping phishing.
I want to stop promoting VeriSign’s brand. Getting past the fact that VeriSign doesn’t own the .com brand, I don’t think web users think of .com as a brand. They look at it like the @ sign in an email address. It’s just what goes at the end of a web address. When I see Nike.com, I think Nike, not .com.
And I have to ask, if this is such a concern then why do we see so many ads for “visit us on Facebook at Facebook.com/brand?”
It’s easier than .com. One of Canon’s reasons for launching .canon is:
“Canon hopes to globally integrate open communication policies that are intuitive and easier to remember compared with existing domain names such as “canon.com.â€
Sounds like Canon’s domain name consultants wrote that. I guess this means remembering to put .com is difficult to remember, because I don’t see another reason it would be easier to remember or more intuitive. Granted, Canon is an international brand and perhaps uses a number of country code top level domains. But if people are used to using those ccTLDs, it will be similar to the transition from .com to .brand — a long and winding road.
I’m also confused and have a genuine question on how the lack of a second level domain would work. Can you tell people to go to .canon? Can you have email addresses name@.canon? I suspect you’d need it to be email@example.com or some other second level since wildcarding is (likely) not permitted, and most software expects a second level domain. Again, expect to alias all of those email addresses to canon.com.
Incidentally, Canon ads today can say “go to Canon.com”. In the future they’ll need to say “go to www.canon” so that people understand it’s a URL. That actually takes longer to say than Canon.com.
I need to register .brand before someone else does. There are a lot of protections in the applicant guidebook to protect against this. No one other than Verizon is going to be able to get .verizon. If you have a generic name, such as .apple, or perhaps even .att, you might consider it. But many brands don’t fall into this category.
I can do something with my own TLD that I can’t do with .com. Please give an example. Really, I want to see some innovative way a brand owner could do something with .brand they can’t do with brand.com. I just haven’t heard of anything yet.
Look, I have nothing against a brand spending $500,000 to create .brand. The more, the merrier. I just don’t understand why anyone would do it during this coming round of new TLDs. If the idea ever takes off, it will be in future rounds when thousands of companies (everyone?) registers top level domain names at much lower prices.
That said, I predict a lot of brands will jump on the bandwagon. The cost is small potatoes in case they ever decide to use the TLD.