Branded Domain Name Suffixes to Be Allowed

Just this week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), announced that they would allow web address names to end with almost any word in any language. Right now, most people recognize the typical web addresses like .com, .org, .net and .edu, among others. This radical development in generic top-level domains (gTLDs) means that domains can now end in a branded suffix. Camera giant Canon has already publicly stated that they attend to apply for “.canon”.

According to digital brand consultancy Melbourne IT, which is helping 150 global brands with their domain strategies, 92% of its clientele will opt for a “.brand” domain name, while 11% said they were interested in applying for a generic suffix such as “.bank” or “.hotel”. The firm’s research found that brands from the entertainment and financial services industries are the most likely to make early applications for “.brand” domains.
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It is reportedly going to cost $185,000 for companies to develop their own gTLD. Companies will be allowed to apply for an new domain name suffix beginning in 2012.

“This is the biggest change to domain names since the creation of ‘.com’ 26 years ago,” said Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, a California-based company that provides online branding services. Hnarakis told AFP that the companies that will benefit most are “big brands with a clear marketing and customer education strategy to exploit the name for competitive advantage.”
(Click here to read the full article from Yahoo News )

Those opposed to the .brand development worry that the influx of new web addresses will be confusing for web users, who are used to using the 22 currently approved suffixes.

This development begs the question as to where online branding is heading. Larger brands are sure to take a much more interested look at creating their own branded web domain suffix, but what about smaller companies? $185,000 is a lot of money for some businesses; could it be spent in better ways to help with online branding?

It will be interesting to see how many companies jump aboard the branded suffix wagon. Will more companies go for generic suffixes like .bank or will be see .bankofamerica?

Perhaps even more interesting to watch unfold is how the general public will respond to the influx in new domain suffixes. Will web users balk at the change or embrace it?

What do you think? Will we soon see .Coke and .Apple in the search engines?

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