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World Trademark Review Conducting Survey About New TLDs

Survey seeks opinions on new top level domain names.

World Trademark Review is currently running a survey to understand attitudes and plans around the launch of new top level domain names.

The survey is targeted to three groups: In-house trademark lawyers, private practice trademark lawyers, and marketing, web, and communications professionals. Each group receives slightly different questions on the survey.

For example, in-house trademark lawyers are asked about trademark protection and Uniform Rapid Suspension. Private practice lawyers are asked if new TLDs provide them with a good business opportunity for their practice. Marketing professionals are asked how their company might use a new TLD and which departments within the company have expressed an interest in them.

World Trademark Review claims the survey “will collect opinions from the widest respondent base ever consulted on gTLD strategy. Through canvassing the marketing community in addition to the legal profession, the study will ensure that the views of all interested parties are considered and therefore present a unique viewpoint on new gTLDs.”

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  1. Jothan says

    I know the periodical.. Once can gather from the title that it is trademark focused so the odds are high the folks in marketing aren’t strongly in the circulation pool.

    It is a good publication but I have deep doubt that it is going to reflect positively on new TLDs.

    I know of a large number of brands that WILL be applying from within the marketing department, preparing their plans quietly until the ICANN process comes out of the long bake oven.

    Meanwhile the legal department at the same company is loudly waving their hands saying the world will end if new TLDs happen in public.

    This survey will probably not capture the real picture if it uses only their primary point of contact at given brands… which will be the legal department.

    And the legal departments are typically not fond of expansion of domain names.

    I’ve listened with an open mind to many of those in the intellectual property field over the course of many of the conferences I have produced or attended, so as to understand their point of view.

    Here’s their take:
    They are constantly reacting to enforcement issues coming from some of the more shadowy players in the registrant pool.

    There are lawyers, paralegals, and administrative workers that are involved with intellectual property enforcement at companies and domain names are not their day to day focus. They have attitudes that exist within a spectrum of attitude ranging from ‘kill everyone, let god sort them out’ clear to ‘let’s be reasonable’.

    Nearly all of them detest the constantly reactive world of addressing enforcement with respect to domain names.

    Domain name enforcement and management is typically one of many things that are their core responsibility, maybe 10% of their overall responsibilities, but it takes up 60-70% of their time.

    Many of the issues that they close out after significant cost and time seem to be replaced with more, akin to a hydra’s head.

    The level of sophistication on the domain name industry and its workings varies within the legal realm. While there are many who are quite savvy, there are also many who are not.

    The educational divide plays a major role in the attitudes, because on the lower sophistication end of the scale we see more visceral activity and attitudes about domain names. Unfortunately, this is the majority of the brands.

    On the whole, many in the intellectual property arena see that if they have 20 issues a week with the current enforcement regime, that 10x more TLDs will mean 10x the enforcement burden.

    This math is unrealistic, but only to someone sophisticated in domain names.

    Yet it is the common view that the formula is truth, and it has the legal departments at many of the brands fairly well entrenched against any expansion of their enforcement costs or responsibilities, especially in this economy.

    So the legal department will openly oppose new TLDs.

    We’ll see that in the results of this survey. No surprises.

  2. gpmgroup says

    On the whole, many in the intellectual property arena see that if they have 20 issues a week with the current enforcement regime, that 10x more TLDs will mean 10x the enforcement burden.

    This math is unrealistic, but only to someone sophisticated in domain names.

    Hmmmm…

    For some companies that math is likely to be very realistic.

    On the marketing side new gTLDs are not the panacea some chose to present them as.

    Brands which can be represented like .ibm and .dell might be happy but their competitors like .hp might no be so enamored.

    Some companies have multiple brands and new gTLDs don’t scale well for that model too.

    Mergers might be a bit of rake…

    But most importantly….

    What about a medium sized company looking to compete with an industry giant? Are they all going to have to pony up $185,000 + $25,000 a year just to get the same branding advantage as their competitor?

    What about the entrepreneur starting out? Why should the system award unfair branding advantage to the heavyweight incumbents?

    Isn’t this a step backwards? Isn’t the success of the Internet derived from lowering the cost of entry for everyone?

  3. John Berryhill says

    “What about a medium sized company looking to compete with an industry giant? Are they all going to have to pony up $185,000 + $25,000 a year just to get the same branding advantage as their competitor?”

    I love those questions, because they make me chuckle every time. What entitles a medium sized company to “get the same branding advantage” as an “industry giant”?

    Let’s forget about the internet entirely for a moment…

    Jim-Bob’s Home-Brewed Soda Co. is going to pony up quite a bit to put a dent in Coca-Cola. Period. The internet doesn’t change that fact. The entire point of being an industry giant with a well-known brand is that market position and branding translate into competitive advantage.

    Jim-Bob cannot afford national advertising, Olympic sponsorship, retail shelf-space agreements, etc. to promote his cola. I guess it just sucks to be him.

    I’m no marketing genius, so perhaps someone has an idea of what a 60 second prime time network commercial costs these days. Can I get 60 seconds of time during American Idol for $185,000? No? Good Lord, call the FCC!

    Jim-Bob is stuck with 30 seconds on cable channel 438 at 3 AM, wedged between ShamWow and the ghost of Billy Mays, while Coca-Cola is getting three minutes during the Superbowl half-time! It’s an outrage, I tell you. I can’t do this all day.

    So what?

  4. Einstein says

    Karl Marx wrote:
    “What about a medium sized company looking to compete with an industry giant? Are they all going to have to pony up $185,000 + $25,000 a year just to get the same branding advantage as their competitor?

    What about the entrepreneur starting out? Why should the system award unfair branding advantage to the heavyweight incumbents?

    Isn’t this a step backwards? Isn’t the success of the Internet derived from lowering the cost of entry for everyone?”
    ———–
    Maybe we should Coca Cola and use the money to fund their competition.

  5. Adam Smith says

    @Jothan,

    Hi, I’m the reporter who has designed and promoted this survey. I’ll be collating the results and writing analyses in our magazine and on our blog.

    You’re right that our primary base of contacts is trademark lawyers. However, as you mention, this survey hopes to obtain a much broader view of new gTLDs than what trademark lawyers would provide. It is in everyone’s best interest to collect comprehensive information on this.

    A questionnaire has been sent to every party who is associated with an announced intention to apply. Note that this questionnaire does not appear online: it is not part of the web-based survey but will form a significant part of the research.

    As for marketing, I spent a great deal of time researching and finding marketing contacts via some of the world’s largest professional marketing associations. The survey has already been promoted to the members of the European Marketing Confederation of many European associations, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization and the Bowen Craggs network (which includes over 300 senior web marketing managers from major brands). Other groups, such as the huge American Marketing Association, failed even to respond to my requests.

    One problem we face is that new contacts – ie, those in marketing – are less likely to participate simply because they do not know our publication. At this stage there is little I can do about that.

    If there are other marketing groups you propose I contact, please let me know. I am eager to survey as wide a base as possible. That will garner the most diverse and interesting results. Anyone who is familiar with WTR knows that we do not write only what trademark owners want to read. We have a journalistic and often controversial voice to maintain.

    Thanks,
    Adam Smith
    http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com

  6. ojohn says

    Faced with the uncertainty of the affects of the new TLDs on the global economy during these turbulent and recessionary times, it looks like that ICANN has changed its strategy and is now going to take a more low key and subtle approach with the roll out of the new TLDs. Although there is not an official cap on the number of applications that could be accepted for the new TLDs, but by putting a limit on the number of staff that are in charge of the approval process ICANN is going to make sure that only a very limited number of new TLDs will eventually be approved and even those would probably take a very long time to become active. This might mean that most of the small to medium size companies and institutions are really not going to have a chance of getting their own TLD even if they meet the qualifications and can come up with the application fees.

    PS: There is also still the problem with the generic keywords which can cause an unfair advantage (monopoly) if given to only one company within any Industry.

  7. gpmgroup says

    @john

    There is competition and there is competition. Using infrastructure to brand / allow better access for a super league is inherently different from allowing all comers to compete on an open level playing fields.

    Let’s forget about the internet entirely for a moment…

    Can you imagine the outcry if Walmart was allowed to build new private freeways with no exits past all the other businesses? That’s totally different from being commercially successful and building the biggest and most impressive store to attract more customers.

    @Einstein

    .brands won’t create competition they are additive costs – Can you imagine brands giving up their existing second level .com registrations?

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