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The Big Opportunity CMOs May Miss Out On

When ICANN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) the organization that oversees the web name space, announced plans to offer new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), which will allow a company to own what are being called .brand domains, it opened the door for tremendous opportunity for marketers and advertisers alike. For the moment however not many CMOs are all that excited.

CMOs Need To Look At New Domains As An Opportunity, Not A Trademark Protection Nuisance

Marketers debate usefulness of ICANN's new domain names

Those were headlines from two recent articles I came across regarding the apparent apprehension on the part of CMOs and marketers in general. Accordng to Forrester Research principal analyst Jeff Ernst not many CMOs are buying into what Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board said in regards to the new domain names. “Today's decision will usher in a new Internet age. We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

Enrst, in an article for Forbes on this topic, wrote "Many of the CMOs I’ve talked to over the past year either weren’t aware that this was coming or didn’t recognize what a company could do with a “.brand” TLD that they couldn’t already do with a .com." And on his own Forrester blog he wrote “Many marketing leaders I've talked with look at this as a nuisance and are skeptical about whether Internet users will embrace [the new domain names].”

Now truth be told, there will be an application fee of $185,000 for any company wanting to register one of these new .brand domains but why wouldn't a company like say Home Depot not want to pay the $185K for the rights to .homedepot? I agree completely with Ernst when he says "A .brand TLD gives marketers much greater control of their online identities. You can now promote your brand at the root of the Internet with shorter, less technical URLs. You can combine all your Web properties, including product sites, campaign microsites, and country-specific Web sites, under a single brand umbrella."

Is it me or is this a no-brainer for brands/advertisers/marketers?

Yes, there is the $185,000 fee plus the cost to maintain the infrastructure but there is also the issue of fraud. As Jim Nichols recently pointed out in a column on Forbes.com, "The risk of an unscrupulous person trying to hijack your company’s identity will have a tougher time when official pages end with a .brand extension."

So, what do you think of all this?

Is it much ado about nothing?

Should brands/advertisers/marketers not even worry about all this?

Or do you agree and think there is tremendous value in owning your own TLD?

Sources: Forbes, Forrester, btobonline.com