How Can Dot Brand Owners Help Create Naming Standards?
Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific – Intellectual Property
7 March, 2016
How should companies name their main .brand website, investor center, and e-commerce pages? Each could create their own naming strategies independently, or they could collaborate to come up with some common labels and define future naming standards!
One third of all the current new gTLDs are .brands. Eventually, big brands will want to make use of their .brand assets, ideally in innovative ways that attract users. But there is an important aspect to keep in mind—naming consistency.
All brands are undeniably different. Their DNA, the way they do business, their messaging, and how they communicate with the public is unique for each brand. Brands will want their unique identity to show through the naming of their .brand by using distinct wording, marketing formulas, and slogans (such as “lifetothefullest.abbott” and “testnavoznja.bmw”).
There are also some transversal concepts within websites that are common to all online brands, like the home page, contact page, news, financial information for publicly listed companies, or e-commerce/shopping pages. Currently, one organization may use “job.tld,” another “career.tld,” a third, “opportunities.tld.” But this might confuse the public, which risks slowing the public’s acceptance and adoption of new gTLDs in general.
Therefore, it would be prudent for .brand owners to provide users with some naming “landmarks” common to most .brands. The idea is not to give away industry secrets, but to work together on the best names to help the public get used to new gTLDs. For example, if all .brands use “home.tld” for their main landing page and “contact.tld” for their contact page, etc., it will create a consistency that might help users recognize and adopt new gTLDs more readily. And eventually Internet users will start accessing online content more often via direct navigation (typing a domain name directly in the address bar) versus search.
Direct navigation—getting to the right information faster and in fewer clicks, or avoiding going through third parties—has always been a goal for digital marketers. Creating standards is one way to help reach this goal. This shouldn’t prevent .brand owners from registering alternative names, but the idea is to promote the one that could become the standard. For example, .brand may choose to register “career.brand,” “careers.brand,” “job.brand,” “opportunities.brand,” “opportunity.brand,” etc., but each of these should default to the standard name agreed upon in the industry, perhaps, “jobs.brand.” While this creates a familiar pattern for Internet users, .brands should also register typos, synonyms, or translations to help capture traffic, which is an essential step to push direct navigation.
The emergence of naming patterns is one of the reasons why CSC® Digital Brand Services’ New gTLD Utilization Report is interesting. We identify trends that will soon become standards. And the beauty of standards is that no matter how strange, people will adopt them (think “www” for world wide web). And while English is typically the language of global standards on the web (and new gTLDs are definitely global), the same approach to naming consistency should be replicated in local languages where it makes sense.
To start brainstorming, here are some of the most popular domain names currently registered under .brand new gTLDs:
So .brand owners really have a chance to set the stage here, and take a proactive role in helping to create naming standards. To do that, CSC Digital Brand Services recommends initiatives including attending workshops for .brand owners, working through your registrar partner to get in contact with other .brand applicants, or looking at what’s already been done (such as the New gTLD Utilization Report).
Obviously, the more .brands that agree to standards, the easier it will be to spread the word. There will be about 500 .brands in the coming months, but even more in the coming years. The early adopters have the opportunity to lead the way!