How are brands protecting themselves with new top level domain names?
Many are, but there are some surprises.
I just checked how the top 50 websites are protecting their brands on Donuts top level domain names.
I took the top 50 (public) sites from Quantcast and ran them through whois for their matching .gripe domain to see if they were registered by the brandholder or blocked with Donuts’ Domains Protected Marks List.
I chose .gripe for several reasons.
First, it’s a domain for which a brandholder would likely want to protect itself.
Second, most premium domain names in .gripe are rather inexpensive, so even if a brandholder can’t use DPML, it doesn’t cost much to protect its brand.
Third, there are only 121 names on the name collision list.
Here’s what I found:
21 of the matching domains were blocked with Domains Protected Marks List.
This is a “blanket” block brand owners can purchase for a few dollars per domain per year.
6 of the domains were registered by the brand holders.
23 of the domain names are still available for registration.
Of these, 9 have Trademark Clearinghouse records:
In theory, this means 9 of them could have gotten a DPML block. However, DPML blocks don’t apply to premium domain names, so some of the TM holders might not have had that option.
Looking at the 9 with TMCH records but no block, most have generic names. If these companies were truly concerned about brand protection, and wanted to protect these so-called brands under .gripe, they could have done so for about $50 per year with a premium registration.
One of surprising exceptions is Yelp, which has a TMCH record and is not a “premium” but apparently decided not to use DPML. This is a surprise given the number of verticals Yelp covers. For example, yelp.catering is currently available for registration.
As for Blogspot, the domain gets a lot of traffic but it’s a legacy brand for Google.
The 14 that don’t even have a TMCH record include a lot of new viral sites that don’t have much of a reason to block .gripe, such as distractify.gripe. However, there are some bigger names, including Craigslist: