Deluge Of New Top Level Domains Causing A Stir With Celebs And Brands
Taylor Swift, Richard Branson, and Microsoft have taken steps to try and proactively protect their reputation, buying new top level domains like TaylorSwift.porn, RichardBranson.adult, and Office.porn. Many brands are following suit, as they are forced to decide whether to ignore the potential negative branding or pay to buy up TLDs like dot adult, dot porn, and dot sucks.
New Top Level Domains
In reality, hundreds of new top level domains have been made available in recent months, including the likes of .London and .Amsterdam, but it is the likes of dot sucks that is getting most of the attention, especially from the celebs and companies that are getting used to engaging in some brad protection.
ICM Registry and Vox Populi are the companies behind the sale of these domains, and they have been accused of effectively holding celebrities and companies to ransom, but .xxx, which is another ICM Registry domain sale, made tens of millions of pounds for the registrar, and it looks likely that they will enjoy similar success this time around.
ICM Registry And .Porn
ICM Registry is a Canadian owned firm that sold a quarter of a million .xxx domains, and making in excess of $50m. This includes the sale of sex.xxx, which fetched $3m and is the highest price yet for a non dot-com domain sale of this type. As well as .xxx, the company now has control over the .porn and .adult TLDs.
Vox Populi And .Sucks
Vox Populi could, potentially, be on to a similarly profitable winner with the contentious dot sucks domain. They have said that “sucks” sites enable a platform for free speech and that they give consumers a voice. They have even suggested that brands should buy the domains and use them as a platform for improved customer services and customer relations.
One U.S. Senator, Jay Rockefeller said that it was “little more than a predatory shakedown scheme” and a number of analysts and experts have said that it is tantamount to extortion – buy YourBrand.sucks, or your disgruntled customers and even the competition, will.
Website Owners Take Action
The profusion of new top level domains means that website owners, marketers, and businesses have a much greater range of choice when choosing a domain name, but it also means that they need to take special care when it comes to brand protection as part of a domain branding strategy.
Small and startup businesses may not need to worry about a brand protection strategy as much as large corporations like Microsoft, but even the “extortionate” prices currently charged will work out considerably cheaper than buying them from the competition, and persuading an unhappy customer to part with the domain could prove even more costly.