On a basic level, your domain name is a valuable part of your online business identity and registering a domain name for your business makes it easier for customers to find you easily and get in touch, but it also protects your brand online and prevents competitors from using it.
But some recent changes now means that a domain name can be viewed as 21st-century real estate, which gives companies the opportunity to uniquely improve their online presence and user experience for visitors.
On 20th June 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the global domain name regulator, approved the final rules to allow businesses to register their own brand name (such as .deloitte or .melbourneit), or generic terms like .lawyer, .music, .bank, .shop, .camera and even cities like .paris, .nyc or .sydney. This new change opens up a wealth of new marketing and advertising opportunities for businesses on top of the usual .com, .com.au or .net.au domain names already available on the Internet.
An example is the AFL, which has applied to register the .afl brand name. It can set up individual domain names for the various clubs (for example, brisbanelions.afl or essendon.afl) and when it strikes up an advertising deal with another business, it can set up a separate domain name and defer traffic to the relevant partner, for example, footballboots.afl. It’s a great way for companies to control their own piece of the internet and control how it all works and set up domain names as they deem fit.
To date, ICANN has received almost 2,000 applications from about 60 countries. Approximately 47% of all applications received were from brands. Some of the brands that have applied for a dot brand domain name have included Toshiba, Google, Amazon, American Express, Marriott and McDonalds, just to name a few. Some of the popular generic domain names applied for include .home, .book, .shop, .blog, .inc, .music and .movie.
If you would like to learn more about the new gTDLs, please continue to check back on our Melbourne IT blog for the latest updates.