Will investment in bespoke domain names add value to brands? The Marketing Society Forum

marketingmagazine.co.uk, Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:00AM

Brands are applying for the new top-level web domain names, from .app to their own monikers.

Will investment in bespoke domain names add value to brands? The Marketing Society Forum


I haven't seen any evidence that consumers have been screaming out for thousands of new domain extensions. On the contrary, most have been largely ignored.

At $180,000 each, ICANN's new domains will make it a lot of money, primarily from paranoid corporations fearful of competitors seizing the pick of the crop.

I am confident that some new URLs will be used innovatively by marketers, but probably within broader campaigns that do more than a mere web address could.

Furthermore, better search engines, social platforms, more-intuitive browsers, widgets and apps all mean the days of a URL being the key to a brand's digital presence are long gone.


There has been much interest in the potential benefits of bespoke domains and how they will affect online consumer behaviour. The value to a brand in investing in them is that they provide innovative ways to engage with consumers.

It may also be worth undertaking if you have a strategy centred on branding and maintaining loyal fans or customers. However there will be an education job to do for consumers and a category job for the new structure, so a cost-versus-benefit evaluation will be needed.

Businesses will need to evaluate their acquisition, ongoing costs and the organisational impact. The number of brands, some very notable, that decided not to apply suggests the jury is out on this one.


Where does the consumer fit into the auctioning off of top-level domains (TLDs)? The consumer is already confused by multiple domains, so how is this going to help their buying journey or even the brand, when 'search' is becoming increasingly prevalent?

Secondly, has the industry not learned from the.travel fiasco? The.com reference is so imprinted on people's minds that when brands registered.travel as part of their business model, research showed the site could be found through good SEO, but when people typed directly they always went to.com.

Geo-location TLDs (.Miami etc) may gain traction and help with localisation, but from a brand versus consumer point of view, .com will prevail.


Relevancy is a top-level issue for brand promotion. If new TLDs make brands easier to find, discuss and engage with, how can that not add value? Of course it is only one tool and 'adding value' takes years, strategy, creativity and budget, but whether a car company buys.drive or Starbucks buys.coffee, that is all in the pursuit of elevating the status of the brand in its market.

Buying an eponymous TLD may also help B2B brands create hubs to improve conversations with customers and prospects.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk


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