Overnight Brand Holders Have More Web Territory to Defend

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-01-15 Print this article Print


A number of companies are signing up as a way to protect their brand. Domain name registrars are signing up hoping to attract sites for organizations with like interests, such as the .beer gTLD mentioned above. There are a growing number of registrations for causes such as HIV research or UNICEF. But in the case of branding, if you can afford to register your brand, you probably should. It will give you some branding advantages in the future, but perhaps more important, it will prevent others from using your brand in their TLD.

But there are things you have to worry about even if you're not interested in registering a gTLD for your company or organization. The first is that you have to be sure your security systems and your Domain Name System (DNS) servers will be able to handle the new TLDs. While most modern firewalls, for example, can get updates that will allow them to recognize the new TLDs, not all can. Likewise, not all DNS server software will handle them properly, at least not without an update.

Part of the complexity that you'll face is that this vast new number of allowed TLDs will also increase the chances of fraud, if only because people using the Internet won't know for sure whether a site is good or not. For example, if you currently run a business called "Sam's Store" then perhaps your Website is samsstore.com.

Because of the fame you've achieved from selling whatever it is that you sell at a fair price and with great support, you've developed a following. Now suppose someone opens a site with the name samsstore.store. And unlike you, they don't offer great prices and their service isn't up to your standard. What do you do about your customers that bought at the other site, and are now unhappy with you?

Even if the other site isn't fraudulent, there's still going to be confusion among your existing customers, not to mention potential customers who may try to find you using a search engine. How are they going to tell the difference? I think you can already see your marketing dollars starting to head out of your bank account.

The fact is, there are no easy answers to the problems of gTLDs. While they do offer a great opportunity for spreading the word about your brand if you can afford it, they also offer challenges. But regardless of whether you take advantage of the branding opportunities, the one thing that's certain is that they will increase the complexity of doing business online. 


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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