How Brands Should Market Their .Brand Domain Names

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Having popular brands use .brand domain names for business and marketing is something that is going to help drive awareness of the new gTLD program. I think consumer confusion about new gTLD domain extensions is one of the biggest issues that needs to be overcome. When a brand uses a .brand extension, it needs to be clear that they are promoting a domain name and not using it as a gag (ala the fictitious Booking.Yeah tagline from Booking.com).

Tony Kirsch, the “.brand Evangelist” and Head of Professional Services at Neustar Inc., wrote a blog post advising brands about how to use and market their .brand domain names to avoid confusion. This is a good read for brand managers, but it is also a good read for domain investors who invest in or develop new domain names.

Here are some of the suggested ways for brands to market new domain extensions, although I think these tips can be used by others who operated websites on the new domain extensions:

  • Add www. at the beginning so people know it is a url
  • Add http or http:// for the same reason (although Tony suggests this may be outdated)
  • Only the domain name (may be confusing as I mentioned above)
  • Symbols to show that it is a url that should be visited
  • Search symbol
  • Written instructions to ensure people know how to get to the domain name

All in all, I think this is good advice for companies looking to use a .brand domain name or a new gTLD domain name in general. It would also be wise for their marketing and advertising agencies to consider these suggestions as well or potentially risk the trouble that Overstock faced when it attempted its O.CO rebranding a few years ago.

As time goes by, I would expect an instructional blog post like Tony’s will become more unnecessary than it is today. As things stand right now, brands that use a .brand domain name for their website likely need to do a bit more to ensure their customers aren’t confused when trying to access their website. I am sure it is the hope of Tony and others in his position that this becomes unnecessary in the future.

11 COMMENTS

  1. “Add www. at the beginning so people know it is a url”

    That’s a MUST. But it also feels like we are going backwards.
    I can’t remember the last time I typed in “www”.

  2. This one is the best of them all. (Written instructions to ensure people know how to get to the domain name). Unfortunately, this looks like a list of good reasons to not to use them at all in your marketing messages.

  3. I partially agree with Rick, that having to provide instruction on how to use a .Brand domain to potential customers is moving a bit backwards. I also see some of the same pitfalls that they face daily, however, I don’t think that all the nTLD’s (.Brands) are doomed. Like with anything new in life or business, there’s a learning curve and it’s just going to take a little time to research and adapt to the change.

    Accepting change is probably one of the harder things for many people to do, because they get so comfortable in their current (Tested and approved) way of doing things.

    At the end of the day, if we all don’t pull it together and hammer out some better solutions to adapt to the change and harness it’s new power, we’ll see a big shift in the industry as many become stagnated and left behind, while others ride the wave.

  4. The change the new extentions have brought to the market are only confusing to branding people and marketers who refuse to think outside the box. What was once innovative and original “.com” is no longer the only way. It’s still the most used and top extention today, so yes it’s valuable, there’s no argument there, but the future… what does the future hold? As lovers of domain names and extensions are we comfortable just getting to the prime of .com and stopping there or should we continue to grow? Growth, adaptability and change is the way the human species and other species have survived for thousands and thousands of years. Without knowing how to adapt and change our species might not exist. Business is the same, and in the long run I’d imagine domains will end up following the same pattern. Things dont’t stay the same forever, any history book will tell you that. Now we’re looking toward the future and the book is not yet written. We should do our best to write it well.

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