NEW YORK, NY – Regardless of what your position is on new gTLD domains “Big Brands” are buying in hook, line and sinker while ICANN is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars on new gTLD fees. Each new application cost its applicant $185,000.00 and with it, an annual maintenance fee of $24,000.00 (yearly recurring).
This doesn’t include potentially hundreds of generic domains that were applied for and went to auction (I didn’t count each one [Full statistics here] 357.05 million US$ in just application fees). I wanted to look at the “Big Brands” to measure use and adaptation. And these application and registration fees did not limit ICANN’s ability to generate additional revenue; there was also public auctions for competing applications. For instance, Google paid $25,000,001 for the domain .app while Amazon bought .buy for $4,588,888. According to Phil Buckingham in Circle ID, ICANN public auctions proceeds were disclosed (sometime around 2015) shedding light onto the high dollar amount of these auctions.
In this list below, I took a look at how many large established and reputable brands have applied for their trademarks in domain extensions and there is about 500 of them here. This does not include many generic vanity type applications; most of those I did not even include (aside from a few on the second notable list below) as I wanted to get a feel for what the major corporate players see in these new URLs and how they are reacting to the opportunity to own and maintain their own dots; It’s about (roughly) 4% actually switch over their main corporate sites to .branded URLs – just 4%.
This is because the majority of these registrations are likely just proactive and defensive efforts at protection of their trademarks through advisory services such as Brandshield.com, FairWindsPartners.com, and MarkMonitor.com (these gTLD consulting companies must love all of this). Trademark owners are actually obligated to protect their mark from infringement, no-matter how insignificant that infringement might seem; failing to do so weakens the marks significance as an identifier of goods and/or services from a particular source, and can result in rights being lost.
Below is a list of major worldwide corporations who are acting on gTLDs regardless of what their intent might be. Brands which have begun using the new extension as their primary corporate websites have their gTLD on the left BOLD. There are only a handful of them here.
Additional notable gTLD applications are listed below for companies which are claiming keywords and generic terms that fit well within their portfolio of services or otherwise make a good fit for who they are in the business world and what they are trying to accomplish as a brand.
For the most part, these are not registries such as Donuts Inc. or Uniregistry Inc looking to sell domain names for registration fees (both have certainly acquired plenty of fantastic strings). These are companies willing to run the extension and/or hold onto it for their own branded use.
Looking at all of these innovative and amazing companies above we can see the hundreds of millions being spent on these new domain addresses in addition to the hundreds of millions which will likely continue to add up further in new applications (round two), maintenance fees and registrations down the road. It can’t just all evaporate.
Some domainers love these new gTLDs while some absolutely hate them, but whatever side of the fence you’re on there is little to dispute when its all listed above – a great deal of very smart minds are investing heavily in this new digital era. Google, for instance, one of the worlds most innovative and forward thinking companies on the planet spent 25 Million on just one of these (.app), for what? Let’s take this list of domains above and use it to tell us what is happening in the next frontier.
What’s here that we do not yet see or understand that clearly? Will time tell, or is the future being gobbled up around us by the second. Do we just see-right-through some of the greatest minds in the world, behind these most successful businesses above in the list? Is it Protection….? Innovation….? What say you?
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®