Clarivate, one of the leading brand protection and corporate domain name management companies, published its 2021 domain trends report. Domain investors are likely most familiar with Clarivate’s MarkMonitor brand. According to a press release published by the company, 1,100 decision makers in the IT, legal, and marketing fields contributed to the report by responding to the company’s survey.
According to the report, the company’s research “reveals that domain security is the biggest challenge in domain management.” Perhaps more interestingly, the company shared that “organizations are grasping the commercial potential and strategic value of new gTLDs.”
Clarivate’s domain trends report is free to download on its website, but it requires people to complete an information form before being granted access to download the report. While this report is geared towards a corporate audience, I would imagine domain investors could benefit from reading it since corporate domain name decisions and strategies often impact investors and domain names in general.
The press release with higher level observations is below:
Security the Biggest Challenge in Domain Management as 2020 Recorded Rise in Domain-Related Cyber Attacks, Says New Clarivate Report
Organizations adopting proactive domain management approach, prioritizing domain security, boosting annual spend despite COVID-19 uncertainty and grasping strategic value of gTLDs
London, U.K., January 27, 2021 – Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CCC), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today released a new report that explores the role of domains in IP management as well as the most significant domain challenges in 2020 and beyond. ‘2021 Global Business Survey: The growing role of domains in IP’ surveyed IT, legal and marketing decision makers worldwide and revealed a third of organizations suffered a cyber attack on their domains last year. Domain security is cited as the biggest challenge in domain management by over half (56%) of all respondents.
Security: a dominant domain management issue
The global pandemic has accelerated digitalization efforts worldwide. 70% of new value created in the coming decade is estimated to come from digitally enabled platforms.[i] However, digitalization has made intellectual property in the digital space, such as domains, a target for cyber crime. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), cybersquatting case filing has surged during the global pandemic.[ii] As a result, organizations have boosted their investment in domain management in order to secure those domains that are of paramount importance to their operations. 52% of respondents were spending more than $25,000 annually managing domain portfolios in 2020, up from 39% in 2019.
The most popular methods used to secure domains have evolved. While two-factor authentication remains the most popular option, increasing from 41% in 2019 to 53% in 2020, registry locking leapfrogged into third place, up substantially to 39% in 2020 compared to 28% in the previous year, reflecting a growing understanding and awareness of registry locks.
Furthermore, organizations realize that external expertise can help them navigate today’s domain security challenges, particularly so with global domain ownership. However, 41% of respondents cited difficulties in overseeing security of numerous global domains and identifying trusted, reputable registrars or providers in each global region.
Protecting brand value with domain management
With the steady rise in cybersquatting case filings observed by WIPO,[iii] organizations are prioritizing brand protection to mitigate the growing risks of infringement, fraud and other abuse. Mitigating brand abuse is the biggest motivator driving domain registrations, according to 50% of respondents in 2020, a significant rise from 27% in 2019.
The volume of domains organizations own has direct implications on their brand value. Organizations are making use of defensive domain names by redirecting them to their main websites to capture more traffic. Even merely defensive domain names can present security risks, ranging from DNS compromise to email spoofing if not configured correctly and managed securely.[iv] 72% of respondents indicated they have at least one inactive domain, 47% have more than 10 and nearly a fifth (19%) have more than 50.
Strategic value of new gTLDs
As domain strategies evolve, so does usage of new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) within domain portfolios. Companies are moving beyond legacy gTLDs such as .com, .net or .org, and deploying new gTLDs including apple.store (Apple) and adidas.clothing (Adidas). In fact, more organizations have registered a new gTLD such as .clothing, .software and .consulting in 2020, with 53% doing so compared to 39% in 2019.
The purpose for registering new gTLDs is maturing. While in 2019, respondents’ most common reason for registering a new gTLD was to further brand awareness (38%), in 2020, capitalizing on potential commercial opportunity was the most cited factor (27%). This marks a positive shift as organizations move beyond building awareness to grasping the commercial potential and strategic value of new gTLDs.
Jeff Roy, President, IP Group, Clarivate, said, “In today’s global, digitally-driven economy, domains are valuable IP assets and key to successful e-commerce strategies. Our research shows that organizations not only understand the commercial value of domains, they are also adopting a strategic view of their domain portfolios. As a recognized industry leader and ICANN-accredited registrar since 1999, we are committed to helping our customers maximize the full potential of their domain portfolios with our unmatched expertise, superior security and singular focus on customer delight, enabling them to go to market faster, while reducing risks. Our end-to-end intellectual property expertise allows companies to make smart and informed business decisions to take new products to market faster and to protect their existing IP assets.”
The 2020 survey was conducted by independent research firm Vitreous World and surveyed 1100 IT, legal and marketing decision-makers around the world from seven countries, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and U.S.
Clarivate™ is a global leader in providing solutions to accelerate the lifecycle of innovation. Our bold mission is to help customers solve some of the world’s most complex problems by providing actionable information and insights that reduce the time from new ideas to life-changing inventions in the areas of science and intellectual property. We help customers discover, protect and commercialize their inventions using our trusted subscription and technology-based solutions coupled with deep domain expertise. For more information, please visit clarivate.com.