Who’s going to register .brand? Google, for starters.

This week, ICANN begins accepting registrations for the much-hyped and controversial “.brand” generic domain names. What this means is that companies will be able to register domains that function without any .com suffix.

So what companies are going to register these domains?

Jacob Williams of UrbanBrain writes:

Based on my own personal experience I expect around 40-50 .brand applications to come from Japan. Unfortunately, I suspect that a lot companies will submit applications just to “protect” their brands.

He writes that Canon and Hitachi are the only two major Japanese companies to publicly commit to registering .brand TLDs.

On this side of the Pacific, I see only a handful of companies excited about .brand TLDs. According to AdAge, Google and Deloitte will be registering .brand domains, so we should expect .google and .deloitte at the minimum. Pepsi has stated that it won’t be registering a domain, but most companies have not commented one way or another.

I do expect Facebook to register .facebook.

Most high-level marketing folks see .brand as more of a pain than an opportunity.

That’s not to say we won’t see many high-level companies dive in — and  enjoy plenty of media attention along the way.

But what’s the value to the customer of a .brand TLD?

That is, what’s broken with .com?

Are those four extra “.com” character really so difficult to type?

On a mobile device, perhaps they are. I make heavy use of the .com button on my iPhone, so we’re only talking about one extra button, but the point is that every button matters when it comes to trying to surf the web on a touchscreen device.

Perhaps that extra button is all the justification a company needs to push ahead with a .brand domain.

So despite my  reservations about .brand, I do see a business case for a company registering one.

But I will reiterate here that I wish ICANN would put more resources into supporting and promoting IDNs — domains for which a true value exists to the user. IDNs are progressing along, but painfully slowly and with little in the way of evangelization and education.

So what other companies will be registering .brand domains? I’ll be keeping a running list here. Let me know if you know of others…


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