Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

27 Jun, 2011

ICANN gTLD: The New Frontiers of Global Cyber Name Identity Branding

Naseem Javed

Naseem Javed is an authority on global naming complexities. He is currently helping corporations on ICANN’s new gTLD cyber-platforms and lecturing on corporate nomenclature frontiers and global cyber-branding. Naseem is also conducting series of exclusive webinars on how to evaluate and achieve iconic name status worldwide. The views expressed below are his own. Email: javedabc@gmail.com or click here www.abcnamebank.com.


On June 20th 2011, ICANN the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, created a global shockwave with their announcement to a packed meeting in Singapore. A thousand delegates witnessed, a long awaited gTLD program released, creating new types of domain names with unlimited potential.

The application fee per name starts at $185,000, and can cost up to $500,000 to integrate.

Still, this investment is no more than what large single highway signage costs over a ten-year lease. This one is more about thousands of such luminous cyber structures over high-density, information highways.

There are many special sectors of opportunities and here are few key areas.

Creating global brands:

A gTLD is a highly suitable device to catapult a name identity into a global stratosphere; such achievements in the past took decades of prolonged advertising costs to achieve any significant global status. The ICANN plan to allow the global populace to assemble an entire domain name as their free choice is a revolutionary and timely decision. This now opens doors to cyber-brands like “my.ibm,” “hotel.chicago,” “it.jobs,” “play.poker,” “fly.usa” or “go.dell.” rio.hilton. But the real surprises will be the new and undiscovered entrepreneurial ideas with great name combinations that will create the spectacular showcases. Players with the proposed name identity must immediately explore whether their name would not only pass the marketing suitability, usability, availability and registrability scrutiny but also full compliance with the ICANN Rules Of Engagement.

Creating destination brands:

A destination gTLD like dot-London would automatically create thousands of sub brands like, hotel.London, taxi.London, work.London or shop.London. Each of these sub brands could be sold or rented out to highest bidders. Also thousands of standalone local brands would wish to become a sub brand under the city’s master gTLD like Maxxi.London, Digitech.London, Microlink.London or Cooper.London such brands will enjoy the benefit of being part of a larger .London brand hierarchy and find this domain an easier way to remember than the extra luggage their current domain names already carry.

Creating generic brands:

The most dynamic and volatile parts of the gTLD are the generic names. Who will finally be the owner of mighty vertical brands like .milk, .rice, .loan, .home, .food, .bank, .car or .phone and how much would they be willing to spend in bidding wars in order to achieve such market dominating name identities? Especially, when such gTLD ownership immediately creates worldwide sub branding opportunities to be fitted under a single generic brand and create successful money trees.

Three key points

What are the immediate and future threats to the current name identity? What are the options for a partial or a full name change? Under what global rules or ‘the laws of corporate naming’ will they find the perfect solution that is best for their wider customer base, international marketing goals, and equally passable under the new ICANN policies? An objective and impartial analysis solely based on nomenclature issues is a must, otherwise the process will become another graphic- and slogan-driven rebranding routine.

In order to achieve high level of marketing efficiency in such deliberations, the ad sector will have to team up with right domain registry and legal services under the guidance of world-class corporate nomenclature expertise and create highly presentable and workable inventory of ideas and roll them out as turnkey cyber vehicles.

Billion dollar domain babies

Once this game is properly understood, it certainly allows the creation of ‘billion dollar domain babies’ where superpower naming ideas become billion-dollar intellectual properties for their holders. This will be an amazing game to play and equally to watch. The legal firms and image-branding agencies seeking new clients have three tasks: How to identify their top clients and offer them world-class recommendations with full confidence to play this game, How to create back-up and supportive plans to capture special name identities for targeted markets, and lastly how to attract new clients by providing leadership on exclusive options on generic and destination brands.

Two deciding factors

Meanwhile, for the applicants of the gTLD, there are two deciding factors. First, the centrality of corporate nomenclature – as without a perfect name solution there cannot be a winnable proposed name application. Secondly, according to a soon-to-be-released study by ABC Namebank, 97.4% business names cannot pass the gTLD test for being too long or too many words (eg Transcontinental Logistical Support & Services, 20th Century Fox, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bang & Olufsen, ConocoPhillips, PriceWaterhouseCoopers) or too difficult to pronounce or spell (eg Axciomner, Acczess, Multiplexerion) or too diluted and in serious trademark conflicts (eg National, United, Gulf, Western, Eastern or General). All this forces immediate action upon organizations, either to have a perfect naming strategy and join the game or simply back off and watch the race as a spectator.

The gTLD game is not for anyone.

Businesses with right ideas, winnable name identity and very healthy turnover must quickly decide and evaluate whether they should enter into this sophisticated space. Do they have the desire to lead and the stamina to create globally workable name identities? This game is not for children, it’s not about $10 dollar domain names, $20 dollar websites, $30 dollar logos and $40 dollar slogans. This is about creating marketing weapons and entering into procedures creating nomenclature hierarchies to catapult the power by creating sub-brand architecture like a money tree. It requires assembly of professional team and solid funding.

A gTLD under the right name identity combinations offers the following

The fastest way to create hyper visibility and global presence

The most intricate device for attracting massive customer acquisition

The game changer from the old school of traditional marketing and branding

A gTLD offers opportunities to brand holders, legal profession and creative services

Fast track evaluations of current portfolios to determine a long term action plans

Realignment naming architectures to accommodate too many or too few identities

Reassessment of current name ownership strategies in light of this new age frontier

A gTLD process has hidden naming challenges in the program?

How to differentiate the power and evaluate a proposed name; .car .auto .motor?

How to select a winning combination; .locomoto,  automoto, .udrive, idrive, .ucar mycar?

How to price and develop sub-branding naming architecture for a winning master candidate?

A gTLD race may create spectacular opportunity or a catastrophic failure.

Any gTLD application without a highly appropriate proposed name will fail

Any gTLD without a strategic branding and global image expansion model will fail

Any gTLD without a wide usage sub-brand creation methodology will fail

Any gTLD misrepresenting sub brands name evaluation will fail

Any gTLD without commanding knowledge of global corporate nomenclature will fail

The Teamwork:

At the base of the gTLD project pyramid are the great desires, concepts and ideas, the middle part is the filing procedures, serious cost and legally guided long term application process and on top of the pyramid is the name as without its absolute winning surety the entire exercise would be futile.

Trademark law firms, advertising and branding services can introduce such gTLD programs to their potential customers, assist them in their name evaluation reports and create opportunities to energize their image strategies based on authoritative analysis and recommendations. The more the clients know about their current or newly proposed name identities, their relevant strengths or serious hidden problems the more they would be open to embrace changes on the big corporate image and branding fronts.

The corporate nomenclature challenges are the most dramatic issues at this junction and especially for any dot brand application. Legal profession has rare and an exceptional opportunities to introduce some powerful logic in the corporate boardrooms and replace weak trademark portfolios and with solid Five Star Standard of Naming solutions www.fivestarstandard.com

Three serious questions for boardrooms; firstly, if the current name is clearly not available for global use then why corporation is still struggling in creating global presences all this time? Secondly at what point the corporation will bite the bullet and make a decision to solve this most critical issue. Lastly, what will be that magical solution to park the future destiny of the organization?

Just like the sweeping change to global marketing and branding caused by the invention of a domain name, the next wave of gTLD would be many times more powerful and dramatic. The winners and the losers of the new games will be easily identifiable.  But unlike the early domain name game this one is ultra classy and a sophisticated maneuver.