Angie Graves reports on the Brand Registry Group meeting in Barcelona last week.
What better way to break up the monotony of dry ICANN policy sessions than a gathering with speakers addressing real-world practices and marketplace challenges?
On October 25, the Brand Registry Group (BRG) hosted a seven-hour program for BRG members, brand registrants and consultants, presenting case studies, histories, timelines, and opportunities. Along with the BRG, and cooperation from the Domain Name Association, sponsors of the event were Neustar, Authentic Web, Lemarit, SafeBrands, Valideus, and Afilias.
The goal was to share education and increase awareness of .brands, and the value of the BRG, which was formed in 2013 by a number of companies who saw benefit in collaborating in the dot-brand TLD space.
Judging from the questions posed during the session, people are interested in understanding best practices for use of existing new gTLDs, potential timelines for the next round of new gTLD registrations, and challenges in managing corporate gTLD and domain name portfolios.
The program covered territory useful to registrants of unused brand TLDs, as well as to companies and their advisors considering applying in the next round. Those who made bold moves explained lessons learned, as well as potential landmines and ways to avoid them. The format was a mix of presentations, panels, discussions, and question-and-answer periods.
BRG President Cole Quinn from Microsoft kicked off the event by sharing his experience as the manager of Microsoft’s domain name portfolio, and how the BRG inspired him in his role, provided access to expertise for Microsoft TLDs, and gave him the language needed to effectively communicate the value proposition of gTLDs with division leadership teams within Microsoft. Quinn explained how Microsoft runs its corporate domain portfolio and gave a sneak peek into its tool showing workflows and automation.
Participants asked what defines “success”, as well as the challenges in communicating internal successes, especially for the benefit of the ICANN community and Brands community, who are both making decisions about the future of the new gTLD program. They acknowledged that community perception is mixed on the question of the success of the first round of new gTLD registrations.
A look back at the first round of brand gTLD registrations led to a discussion of lessons learned, an analysis of the ways consultants and applicants approached the program, hurdles that were overcome, and challenges that became apparent during the process.
A snapshot of the current state of the .brand TLD space was presented, along with details of hurdles that are yet to be overcome, and examples of helpful sites dedicated to tracking progress in the space.
Other presenters shared details of their experiences as managers of their own corporate registries, including Cecilia Smith of 21st Century Fox, Kevin Audritt from HSBC, Google’s Ben McIlwain, and Kate Kahle from CERN. Sharing not only their experiences so far, but their ideas and plans for development going forward, interest from the attendees was apparent, with each presentation generating additional questions about details.
The session concluded with an in-depth look into needs identified for a success in the next round, and Jeff Neuman presented an estimated timeline and the work needed to be done within the ICANN community before the next round can be launched. Best case scenario for the next round of applications? Late 2021.