gTLD: The Impact of 524 Words on the Global Branding World


ADOTAS – There are specific 542 dictionary words applied for as generic top-level domain as ICANN gTLDs at an average cost of million dollars each. What will these dictionary words achieve as cyber brands, what power will they exert on new and established brands and who will be the new winners or losers in this global race? Which dictionary words will win gold, silver or bronze medal as top level domain names?  Each one of the 542 proposed dictionary word top-level domains will be analyzed and categorized in a special webinar on April 24, 2013 (further details, including the list, can be found at AZNA).

When a professional name evaluation based on the rules of naming and laws of corporate nomenclature are applied to each of the 524 dictionary words submitted as top-level domains, a blurry picture appears. It shows lots of winners, but also lots of troublesome name choices. As the discussions grow more heated by the day, misinformation and unrealistic debates are surfacing, causing confusion in the domain name industry and global business community and among consumers at large.

Despite all the technical brilliance and legal archery, at the end of the day, a gTLD is just a “name.” It makes no difference where the dot is placed; it’s still a name and subjected to rules of corporate nomenclature and trademark laws. A name-by-name evaluation of the 542 generic names will clarify the market confusion over the naming issues.

By their mandate, trademark lawyers play a critical role in name conflicts, applying wisdom and clauses to defend and protect trademarks. However, such conflicts are post name-selection issues; their mandate does not allow them to provide much earlier needed opinions on naming to their clients. As a result, the legal profession basically focuses on black-and-white issues and not the soft power nomenclature areas.

Here as a very small example: If “apple” is in conflict with “abble,” they will apply the rules, but are not mandated to create “pineapple,” “banana” or “apple juice” as alternate marketing solutions. Such strategies are the realms of corporate nomenclature discipline. Now that the global naming complexities are so much on the forefront, it is becoming increasingly important for lawyers to become well-informed global-naming experts. Where, when and how names are created and what really happens to “name suitability” if wrongly thrown in the complex naming jungle to earn brand name equity.

Despite all the trademark protection and legal input, the entire proposed gTLD name applications, across the board, shows lack of name selection skills; on one side, large numbers of weaker or dysfunctional names have been proposed, and on the other, real good winners were completely ignored.

Why is this so important for the advertising and branding sector of the world?  Because of all the related professional business services the advertising and branding agencies of the world were best suited to take the lead and bridge the information gap on global gTLD programs. Their early and blunt refusal to entertain any of the gTLD issues or to engage in any serious fashion on global naming complexities only added confusion in the marketplace. Despite all that, they are still best poised to lead the charge provided they get fully and openly engaged and attempt to become global experts on advanced level of corporate nomenclature alongside their traditional creative services.

Improperly conceived random gTLDs will only create massive high-volume defensive registrations, and traffic jams at trademark clearing house. The future of global domain expansion and new gTLDs is far brighter, and skillful naming management must be at the core of this progression.



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