Looking for more information on gTLD launches and advice on what your business should be doing? In this blog post we’re discussing:
- The state of gTLD launches
- Who should give input on registering domains in new gTLDS
- gTLD relevance
- Eligibility requirement
- Cost and domain blocking
- Other strategic considerations
The state of new generic TLD launches
Launches of new gTLDs from the 2012 ICANN application round began back in late 2013 with the initial launch of شبكة. (“.shabaka” in Arabic, roughly translating to ‘.web’). Since then, hundreds of open or restricted new gTLDs have launched, with a few more likely launching in the second half of 2023. With market conditions and other relevant factors continually changing, navigating these launches has been an ongoing challenge for brand owners as they consider what domain names make sense to register within their current domain name portfolio registration strategies.
Who should make decisions regarding the gTLD domain registration strategy at your corporation?
We advise that input on which new gTLDs to register domain names in should come from a variety of functional groups within an organization – based on both risk-tolerance and business opportunity grounds – and should focus on pertinent factors such as the relevance of the gTLD, eligibility requirements, cost, and whether it falls under an existing blocking product. The following is intended as a refresher on the core considerations for both pre-existing new gTLD strategy and ongoing new gTLD launches.
Elements of gTLD domain registration decision-making
The ability to understand and connect relevance and context of a specific gTLD within a given domain name is highly subjective and can vary widely due to a number of characteristics, from word meaning and language spoken to country or culture of origin as well as plain personal preference. For instance, a financial institution may be interested in registering a .bank or .insurance domain name, solely based on association with the financial industry, before confirming that they meet any eligibility requirements.
Using .bank in another way, in the English language ‘bank’ can be both a noun (‘the place where money is exchanged or deposited’) or a verb (‘to do the act of banking’). While the actual .BANK registry is focused on trademarks, trade names, or other service marks which primarily lead in to usage of the ‘noun’ reading, a different registry might allow for the ‘noun’ or ‘verb’ readings of its gTLD which could lead to different registration decisions around usage and applicability for brand owners to consider.
gTLD eligibility requirements
While there has been a decade to practice the registration of domain names in new gTLDs, brand owners still need to remember to keep an active trademark submission in the Trademark Clearinghouse as that is the base requirement to submit a Sunrise Period registration during a launch. Brand owners will also need to meet any other registrant eligibility requirements put forth by the registry, such as geographical requirements, proof of nexus or correlation to a specific industry, or certain technical requirements such as having a live website or a requiring an SSL certificate to be activated on a website.
Cost of registering TLDs
The pricing of various launch phases (Qualified Launch Program versus Sunrise Period versus Limited Registration Periods versus Early Access Programs) as well as the possibility of a domain name being categorized as a Premium domain name (a higher-cost registration dictated by the governing registry) can affect a brand owner’s decision on when to submit a registration to maximize value and the chance of registering a desired domain name.
gTLDs as part of a blocking product
Whether a new gTLD is launching with the option of being a part of a new or existing block or blocking offering can be part of the registration strategy. When brand owners deploy a block, they are not registering a traditional domain name – that is, blocks do not function or resolve as standard domain names do. Rather, blocking allows brand owners to opt out of a traditional domain name registration while still preventing third parties from registering the brand across multiple new gTLDs, protecting their brand from infringement. Blocking may also lead to potential cost savings on a per-gTLD basis compared to a traditional domain name registration.
gTLD strategic considerations
We recommend that companies create a decision-making framework upfront around launch decisions so that they have a clear direction prior to the release of a new gTLD, taking the factors above into account.
We believe that a portfolio manager’s approach to new gTLDs should consider the most effective approach to enforcement and recovery strategies as well – allowing brands to remain unregistered in less popular gTLDs or gTLDs with prohibitively high cost or burdensome eligibility criteria may be a calculated business decision – though each individual situation should be carefully reviewed.
The future of new gTLD launches
As for what new gTLDs are coming up for registration in 2023, see below:
- .box: Sunrise Period: August 9 – September 12, 2023. The registry describes this new gTLD as “from subscription boxes to storage and more.” More details will be provided as we approach the Sunrise Period.
- .music: Sunrise Period: September 11 – November 15, 2023. Per the registry, “.music provides global music community members with a global music industry standard for their music identity. Anyone in the global music community can register their unique .music domain, including artists, creators, bands, groups, industry professionals, music companies and organizations.” Additionally, the “.music registry in collaboration with its music partners, is designing and launching a purpose-built Music Services Platform available for use with .music domain names. Registered .music owners will gain privileged access and use of the platform at release and all planned future music innovations.” More details will be provided once the registry finalizes its launch details.
We’ll provide additional information about these respective launches to our customers as we get them. For guidance with crafting your launch registration strategy for the remainder of 2023, please contact your Domain Portfolio Advisor.
Want more information on gTLDs and portfolio management?
With new gTLDs continuing to be in the news, please be on the lookout in Q3 for an updated version of our Markmonitor New gTLD Quarterly Report. With insight from experts in new gTLD trends and launches, the future of the next application round, policy, industry meetings, and more, our Markmonitor New gTLD Quarterly Report will keep you up-to-speed on all things in the new gTLD space.