This is the third in a series covering the top stories on DNW in 2017, as ranked by pageviews.
The seventh most-viewed story on DNW in 2017 was about McDonald’s bailing on the new top level domain name program. The company had applied to operate .mcd and .mcdonalds. In the summer it informed ICANN that it no longer wished to operate these two domains.
McDonald’s joined a small but growing list of companies that applied for so-called .brand top level domains but later decided against running them. Other companies that withdrew in 2017 include HTC (.htc), Pampered Chef (.pamperedchef), Richemont Group (.montblanc, .chloe), The Boots Company (.boots) and Orient Express (.orientexpress). Others withdrew in 2016.
[clickToTweet tweet=”#8 in 2017: Brands luckwarm to dot-brand domain names” quote=”#8 in 2017: Brands luckwarm to dot-brand domain names”]
There are two things to consider about these companies’ moves.
First, it’s not surprising that some .brand owners have had second thoughts about new TLDs given the low overall demand for domains registered new top level domains. Like many generic new TLD applicants, some of these companies expected new TLDs to make a bigger splash. They applied thinking they’d be a bigger deal than they ended up being, so it makes sense to re-evaluate the costs of running the domains. Others applied on the mistaken belief that defensive top level domain registrations were necessary.
Second, the withdrawn applications represent just a small percentage of the total .brand applications submitted.
Elsewhere, use of .brand domain names is expanding. Top level domain registry Neustar switched its website to .Neustar and companies like Amazon are promoting sites such as BuildOn.aws.
Another positive sign: companies that didn’t apply for .brands in the first round are asking ICANN to open another round so they can apply. That’s a signal of demand, at least from an applicant perspective.
Like all new domains, .brand top level domain names will only grow in awareness. Whether it makes sense for companies to make the expense required to run them remains to be seen.