by Arnaud Astier

What do MAIF, BNP Paribas, the CERN, MANGO, and Sky have in common? They now all use their own new dot brand domain names, or generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

After more than three years of a fierce battle complex process full of unforeseen developments, many .brand gTLD applicants now have the ability to register and use a new generation of domain names.

Arnauds_gTLD_InsightsThe web is full of .brand examples and diverse uses:

  • Internal: MAIF’s travel site for its employees at voyagepro.maif
  • Social media: MANGO’s media campaign at somethingincommon.mango
  • Shortener: Sky’s URL to access the personal account at my.sky
  • Global positioning: CERN highlighting their international profile at home.cern

Last but not least, BNP Paribas renamed and refreshed their customer site—from www.bnpparibas.net to mabanque.bnpparibas—taking what some might consider a big risk. But this bold and ambitious move to use their new .brand gTLD shows how effective a well thought-out and executed .brand implementation can be. It seems that they tested the waters first by switching their LivingTheChange.com microsite to LivingTheChange.bnpparibas. I imagine this was part of their digital strategy, and dare I say, it was a great move!

As usual with new trends and innovation, skepticism seems to be the initial reaction from the European marketplace. Europeans have been vocal in criticizing ICANN and their New gTLD Program since its inception. Unsurprisingly, the discussions have been lively. Except now when it comes to the adoption of new gTLDs, there’s been no sign of the usual European reluctance. Not even from France, where we consistently and proudly moan about anything and everything (or maybe that’s just me). From the examples mentioned, it’s clear that European brand owners are jumping in with both feet to implement their new .brands.

At this stage, people may assume the U.S. is behind in its adoption of new .brands, but I’m thinking it’s just that their strategies differ. Is it because they face a bigger risk in switching to a new .brand gTLD? Over here in Europe, we are used to seeing many extensions from .com, to .co.uk, .fr, .de, etc. But in the U.S., .com is king, and even the few alternatives to .com have never really caught on. (Who uses .us?) Even if the U.S. seems behind for now, let’s not forget that 4 of the most well-known U.S. Internet companies—Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft—have all applied for at least one new .brand gTLD (Facebook didn’t, and Twitter is showing interest in applying). So at any point, they could make a big move to start using .brands. And once they do, it will surely help awaken consumer awareness of new gTLDs and accelerate adoption.

For now, Europe seems to be in good shape for keeping pace once the U.S. decides to jump in.

FURTHER READING

>> Read our latest New gTLD Utilization Report.
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Europe’s adoption of new gTLDs
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