ADOTAS — With the first wave of generic top level domains (gTLDs) set to launch this summer, followed by a wave of brand-controlled domains in the fourth quarter of 2013 and into 2014, the new Internet is upon us. Jennifer Wolfe, president of Wolfe Domain, the leading gTLD digital brand strategy firm, today released the most pressing questions brands and other companies are facing regarding the expansion of the Internet.
”It’s not often that companies receive advance notice that the entire Internet is about to expand dramatically—taking a ‘wait and see’ approach may lead to disappointment and lost revenues if you later discover that critical sunrise or landrush periods have passed,” said Wolfe. “If your organization doesn’t act and execute an appropriate strategic aquisition plan, then someone else will secure the domain names you want. How will you explain that to your CEO?”
1) If my company hasn’t applied, can I still participate? Yes. The first gTLDs will begin to launch this summer with the others soon thereafter. There are still opportunities to participate in “open” systems.
2) How should I select gTLDs, if they are still available? Start with a goal. What’s the purpose in acquiring the domain name? Is it to actually move or just redirect your current domain name? Are you looking to improve your search results or create a new strategy around usage of your domain name? Then segment the 1000+ options and prioritize them in order to build a budget and a timeline to secure these new domains.
3) How much will it cost? The cost of each new domain will depend upon the gTLD owner who sets the pricing. Owners range from big registry operators to individual organizations. gTLDs in high demand may cost more than those in less demand. While market prices tend to be in the $15 – $100 per year range, this could change based on supply and demand. Assess each gTLD from a pricing perspective and then develop a strategy.
4) How do I apply? Develop a timeline of when the gTLDs will become available. All gTLDs will be governed by ICANN’s procedures outlined in the Applicant Guidebook, which created the new gTLD program. Sunrise periods will be offered for registered trademark owners to secure their domain names first and then opened to the general marketplace. The acquisition and registration process will likely remain similar to the current domain registry process.
5) How do I participate in sunrise and landrush periods? If you have a registered trademark for a new domain name, then you should participate in the Trademark Clearinghouse. Register your trademark in ICANN’s database by paying a fee ranging from $95 – $150 per trademark. This step is necessary to participate in the Sunrise period offered. Once Sunrise periods are open, then gTLD operators will offer a Landrush period and begin opening it up to the public for sale.
6) When will search engines change? Google applied for 101 gTLD names. Some of those systems are “open,” which means they can resell them to businesses and consumers. gTLDs will become “ZIP codes” or category regulators for the Internet landscape, so search engines will begin to weigh the gTLD name as a category, and .com will become diluted in search results.
Wolfe launched Wolfe Domain in late 2011 to provide comprehensive guidance to global brands, interactive agencies, domain registrars and legal counsel representatives, on establishing and evolving holistic gTLD, name-anchored brand strategies for the next generation of the Internet. Using its proprietary Digital Mapping™ tool, Wolfe Domain helps brands and their partners develop digital brand plans that effectively leverage a new gTLD strategy as the foundation for branding, social media and mobile initiatives.