In the very near future, hundreds of new gTLDs will be introduced. This development represents a change of paramount importance in brand protection, and one of the biggest since the Internet’s inception.
On the positive side, it will provide a monumental opportunity for brands to strategise and energise their domain names. On the negative side, by the number of gTLDs exploding from 300 currently to over 1,400 before year’s end, there will be an infinite amount of spaces where infringement and exploitation to your brand can take place.
You need a comprehensive domain strategy to leverage the benefits and minimise the risks your online brand identity faces.
This gTLD explosion coupled with your online presence based on your actions will go through a metamorphosis, one that can help you reinvent and define your online presence and empower you to secure additional domain names that reflect your objectives as a business, your products and help you target new markets; hence introducing new customers to your products and generating fresh revenue streams.
Every business’ fear is that cyber pirates, squatters and counterfeiters will grab domain names as well as gTLDs and use words and terms that are trademarked and will hold onto them for ransom, when they can demand outrageous payments from the owners of those trademarks.
Additionally, they can cut into your own traffic, steal your customers and sell competing products. True, there are laws in the US as well as internationally to protect company-owned trademarks from this type of infringement but, the costs involved in pursuing action against these cyber thieves can add up very quickly. So, as you can see it will be a nightmare if not tended to properly.
As a large brand or even a medium-sized one you ask: Do I need to register all these new TLDs? It could prove to be quite costly to register not only your domain name but just think of all the variations out there. We’re talking about perhaps registering thousands of TLDs. Going out and registering every TLD variation, misspelling, extension, etc will prove to be more of a burden as far as cost and effort.
But, there is another way. That is by implementing a type of policing mechanism that scans the Internet, monitors, detects abuse and reports it in a visual manner, while identifying the level of threat, prioritising them and offering solutions to correct the issue.
A system is needed to not only police and report threats and violations to your brand, but also one that suggests TLDs that would be beneficial for your business.
A system that would do this will need to utilise a set of sophisticated algorithms that would analyse and assist you in identifying opportunities online that would increase the value of your brand. The system would need to employ a combination of keywords as well as semantic analysis that would be tailored to your brand to ensure the maximum probability for increasing your brand’s equity.
So, yes. The introduction of these new gTLDs can be a nightmare for businesses across the globe, but with the right mechanisms in place you can stay protected and even capitalise on this new development.