The global audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG has announced they will be moving from their kpmg.com domain to their new gTLD .kpmg when it is up and running. And this assumes it gains the final approval from ICANN.
“As the primary signal for our brand’s internet addressing, .kpmg will replace kpmg.com,” David Green, head of global digital marketing told World Intellectual Property Review. However such a move will take some time and be a gradual transition.
“The time it takes to get to that stage will depend on general public awareness of the gTLD programme,” Green notes. “We won’t immediately drop .com; there will be a phased migration.”
The decision to apply for the gTLD was decided by following “an internal ‘feasibility study’ on whether to apply for a gTLD and, if yes, what to apply for, says Green, noting that 17 senior KPMG executives were interviewed.”
“We had a very clear understanding from the outset that we were not applying for a domain name—we were applying to operate a secure registry system at the world root of the internet. There were several advantages to applying, but the primary motivation was to operate a registry system, because it can provide a number of operational and technical advantages,” Green said.
These advantages, he explained to World IP Review, included having “superfast servers at the root of the internet” and the ability to resolve lots of queries: a fantastic processing power such as the .com registry can handle “millions of queries per second”.
“It’s a massively scalable database; these registry systems have a proven ability to host millions of unique entries,” he says. “And you have more secure point-to-point internet communications as well as unique addressing, which is where most of the conversation during the application stage was focused.”
The company also believes it will help visitors to the company’s websites to be able to ascertain they are indeed at a genuine KPMG website, the company noted in their new gTLD application.
“It will therefore increase consumer and client trust and reduce the possibility of malicious conduct. It may also allow us to engage with internet users in their native language, creating a more positive user experience,” World IP Review dug out of their application.
As has been hoped by ICANN, and others such as ARI Registry’s Adrian Kinderis, Green believes new gTLDs will lead to innovation online.
“The gTLD programme is going to be hugely disruptive to business models, a core change to the internet’s infrastructure. It could have as profound an impact as the invention of the World Wide Web itself,” he claimed in the interview.
“Many brand applicants, which represent about a third of the overall number, applied to operate a registry system and I think a lot of the future innovation in the domain name system (DNS) will come from brands.
“Brands operating closed registries in particular have very different motivations for operating a gTLD registry from incumbent domain industry actors and new gTLD start-ups, who essentially view this liberalisation of the DNS as an expansion of the existing domain name market,” Green said.
Green noted that the innovation he is thinking of has not been thought fully through yet. And quite possibly he doesn’t want to divulge all of KPMG’s plans. But he does say “machine-to-machine internet communications will eclipse human-generated internet traffic. For a thing or device to connect to a network, part of the required authentication and verification for a transfer of information or secure delivery of digital services will be a unique key field,” he said.
“So you start to see how these registry systems will be used not just for domains for addressing purposes, but we might need to start thinking about domain numbers and serial code numbers, which could be used for verification and access to further enterprise systems.”
Search engine optimisation (SEO), Green added, was another big advantage of having a .kpmg domain, despite Google’s refusing to disclose how favourably its search engine will treat gTLDs compared with other domains.
“Google uses many different criteria in its relevance and ranking algorithm. One of those is the domain name: if a domain is a key term, it will have a greater relevance for people searching for that key term. So any website under a .kpmg domain is clearly owned and managed by KPMG, and the domain should have a higher ranking in that regard, although this will not mitigate the need to address other SEO considerations,” he says.
But the SEO benefits may not be so great. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of the webspam team and an engineer in the search quality team, said back in March 2012 that new gTLDs will not be favoured over their .com equivalents. Whether anything has changed in the meantime though is not clear.
“Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD),” Cutts wrote on his Google+ page. “Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.”