From brands to portfolio players, here’s a look at what we know so far.
The “big reveal” of who applied for what top level domains isn’t until June 13. But that didn’t stop a lot of companies from making their own announcements over the 36 hours since the application window closed.
Here’s my roundup and analysis:
The announcement came from Vint Cerf, Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist”. He also happens to be the former Chairman of ICANN’s board. One thought is if Cerf is trying to throw ICANN a bone here. Not in the form of money, because we all know ICANN’s coffers are going to be a lot fuller than we expected just months ago. It’s more of a “we believe in ICANN and what they’re doing” statement. Still, I think Google could have done this by applying for perhaps a dozen domains including some non-.brand domains. So this seems like a bit more. It seems like Google sees benefits to new top level domains.
But I gotta ask: .lol? Really?
Is Facebook applying for .facebook or anything else?
A Facebook spokesperson told AdAge a couple months ago that it wasn’t applying. But it’s hard for a spokesperson to answer a negative like that. A TLD initiative could come from anywhere within the company.
And a lot has happened since two months ago.
I reached out to Facebook yesterday to ask again if they applied for any new TLDs. All they would say is “no comment”.
I’d be willing to bet money (or rapidly devaluing FB shares) that Facebook applied for something.
TLDH and Directi
Two of the big “portfolio” applicants have announced their applications.
Top Level Domain Holdings, which owns Minds + Machines, applied for 92 domains, 68 of which are on its own behalf. (Others are with partners or on behalf of clients.)
It’s not very surprising to me that the company applied for .green. It has an entity set up to apply for .eco, but that one could be messy. This will be a battle to watch.
The company also applied for two IDN top level domains.
TLDH applied for a lot of common strings that will be in contention.
The same can be said for Directi’s new Radix company (see disclosure). The company applied for 31 strings. Company founder Bhavin Turakhia told DomainIncite he expects every one of the names to be in contention with other applicants.
One of the companies both TLDH and Radix will have to face off with is Go Daddy. I broke the news Wednesday night of the company’s applications for .home and .casa. Not surprisingly, .home has multiple applicants. Slightly surprisingly, so does .casa. It will be interesting to see how these play out.
The brand scare continues
The notion that brands must apply for their .brand to keep others from doing so certainly played a role in applications. You can blame Association of National Advertisers in part for this. But I’ve got to wonder what consultant convinced lighter maker Zippo that it needed to apply for .zippo.
Here’s a quote from an article in The Economist:
Jeff Duke, general counsel at Zippo, a lighter-maker, says the firm already spends $3m a year “playing whack-a-mole” with claim-jumpers—a tidy sum for a small manufacturer, albeit one with a big brand. The expansion will “multiply our headaches”, he predicts. Zippo will apply for .zippo, even though “we don’t have any great plans for it.”
This is a prime example of a domain that didn’t need to be applied for on a defensive basis.
This one, courtesy of a Momentous (Pool.com) subsidiary, is sure to be a punching bag. Regardless of the true intent, the company will be hard pressed to convince anyone that it’s not merely a stick up to get brands to protect themselves.
Momentous figures to profit from new TLDs from others in the coming years. It’s offering a digital archery service. It’s also sure to have a lot of clients for sunrise auctions.
Things are getting interesting…
Disclosure: I work with Directi’s media companies. I have not been involved with Radix.