ICANN is to begin accepting applications for new generic Top Level Domains from tomorrow (12 January) with indications being that there will be somewhere between 1000 and 1500 applications during the three month application window.
Defying attempts by largely US-based advertising and marketing organisations such as the Association of National Advertisers to stop or delay the programme, both Melbourne IT and ARI Registry Services (formerly AusRegistry International) have said they expect around two-thirds of applications to be from brand names.
“Big brands from around the world have already engaged with Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services to help them apply for more than 100 new TLDs,” said Theo Hnarakis, Melbourne IT CEO and Managing Director.
“Big name companies in the financial sector, plus the retail and consumer goods industries have shown the most interest in applying so far, and roughly a quarter of the companies we are assisting are members of the Fortune Global 500. Applicants working with Melbourne IT also include members of the U.S. Association of National Advertisers. We expect more brands to follow now the application window has opened and the program’s final application deadline of April 12 looms nearer,” Hnarakis said.
Entrepreneurs seeking to profit from generic terms like .shop or .hotel are expected to make up around 30 per cent of applications while the remaining ten per cent will come from governments and other groups wanting to represent their city or region online with a geographic TLD like .sydney, .paris or .tokyo.
“Analysis of more than 400 clients we’ve engaged with globally over the past year shows technology and finance companies in Asia Pacific and the US lead the pack,” said Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services.
Strongest interest has come from businesses in the Asia Pacific region (52%), followed by the United States (29%), Europe (10%), Middle East (7%) and Africa (2%).
“The first round of new domains will be dominated by technology brands (20%), as the IT industry recognises the huge opportunity to innovate. This will be closely followed by banks and other financial service providers (11%) who are jumping at the opportunity for the increased online security and trust that comes with a .brand domain,” Kinderis said.
Demand for new TLDs is likely to driven in part due to the difficulty in obtaining desirable domain names for new businesses and brands.
“It takes about an average of 50 attempts until you actually secure a domain name that might exist because so many of them have already been registered,” Hnarakis told Sky News.
“Now’s the perfect time for brands to consider a new Top-Level Domain as part of their long-term digital marketing strategy,” said Kinderis.
Speculating on the results, Kinderis said the attractive sales and marketing benefits of new TLDs has likely appealed to the IT, finance and retail industries as a way to differentiate themselves -especially important in light of the economic downturn.
“A .brand new Top-Level Domain will deliver improved trust, leadership, customer engagement and message recall by providing a direct connection between the customer and the brand experience online. The rapid growth of e-commerce and online retail also complements the move to a .brand domain name. For example, in the near future we may see short, relevant and memorable domain names such as iphone.apple, creditcards, .hsbc and shoes.nike.”
However, both Kinderis and Hnarakis warn that potential applicants need to act quickly if they want to reap these benefits as it is unlikely there will be another round of applications for at least two or three years.