New generic top-level domains (gTLDs) represent the next major milestone in the expansion of the Internet namespace. The effect they will have on domain portfolios and brand protection strategies is certain to be profound—and your brand needs to be ready.
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Top-level domains (TLDs) are the portion of a domain name located to the right of the dot. Prior to the launch of the New gTLD Program, there were 22 gTLDs, the most well-known of which is .com. The new gTLD expansion opens the door for brands, community groups and entrepreneurs to operate their own top-level domains, such as .bbc, .cpa and .fashion.
ICANN opened the new gTLD application period in January 2012 and, in June 2012, ICANN released a list of 1,930 new top-level applications. These included applications for:
geographic terms (e.g., .nyc, .london, .osaka)
generics (e.g., .film, .fashion., .sports)
brands that applied for a TLD in their own names.
When awarded their "dot brand," these organizations will be responsible for running a domain name Registry in which other entities may be able to apply for a domain name, according to the criteria set by the Registry.
Now is the time to make sure you're prepared for the new gTLDs. MarkMonitor suggests you do the following:
Review the applied-for strings and familiarize yourself with the available Rights Protection Mechanisms such as the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
Rationalize your existing domain portfolio and purge any unnecessary domain names
Re-evaluate your defensive registration strategy
Assess your domain management policies
MarkMonitor gTLD experts can provide guidance as you navigate the expanded Internet namespace.