How will This Affect Your Strategy?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, (ICANN) is opening up its Top Level Domain, (TLD) registration for custom naming. The TLD is the most right portion of an Internet Protocol (IP) address, the most common of which is .com. TLD’s are now being opened up to customization. What this means is that you can apply for a custom TLD that may be specific to your company or organization (this option is not yet available to individuals). For example, IBM could apply to register .ibm or Apple could apply to register .apple.
The implications are huge and will have a major impact on branding, marketing, and intellectual property as it relates to trademarks and of course search engine optimization (SEO). ICANN is using a serious pricing policy and an intense application process with a short window to quell to the potential overwhelm of applications and conflicts. Applying and getting a custom TLD will cost about $185k plus up to $75k/year of renewal and maintenance fees.
It is not yet clear who has applied for a custom TLD it appears that ICANN is initially targeting larger global corporations and brands. So, what if you are not a large global brand but your brand equity and SEO are highly important to you? Should you apply for a custom TLD? This obviously depends on many factors, most relevant of which is your overall strategic plan and subsequently your brand, marketing and sales plans. One thing is for sure, custom TLD’s are going to affect branding, marketing and SEO in your industry. This being the case it would be advisable to know about custom TLD’s and have a plan as to how you are going to take advantage of them or have a plan by which your non-use of custom TLD’s does not lead to the reduction of your brand equity and sales capabilities.
If you would like more information on custom TLD’s and the possible implications on your business here are some resources: