New gTLD Congress preview


New gTLD Congress preview

The Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress will be held in New York City from March 11 to March 12. TB&I looks at the potential highlights.

The Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress couldn’t come at a better time. For the first time, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has named a date—April 23, 2013—for launching the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The date is tentative but it means conference attendees, unlike at other past events covering the gTLD programme, have a launch date to focus their sights on.

The two-day conference caters for all needs: current and prospective applicants; trademark owners and in-house counsel; branding and marketing consultants; communications specialists; and more.

Day one kicks off with a session all about branding. Panellists will discuss best practices for optimising domain portfolios, assessing how new gTLDs affect brand strategy and analysing the influence of the domains on social media, and will finish by looking at whether gTLD round two is right for you.

Throughout the day, panels will ponder what applicants should do with their new domains and how they can recoup their investment; how brands, whether they have applied or not, can stand out from the crowd; and whether the rollout of more than 1,000 domains will help the Internet become more global.

Brigitte King, senior vice president at L’Oréal, ends the day by offering some tips about how to stand out from the crowd, in a session entitled ‘The L’Oréal Story: Building Beauty Brands with Digital, Data and Direct Relationships’.

On day two, an early session will hear from the co-founder of Donuts, a start-up company that has applied for 307 gTLDs at a cost of $57 million. Richard Tindal will explain the company’s rationale for investing so much in the programme, adding some thoughts on trademark protection and how his company will protect you.

Whether your company has applied for a gTLD or not, more than a 1,000 new domains means that you may be dealing much more with ICANN than in the past. That’s why the conference will host a session targeting non-lawyers—branding and marketing specialists, to be precise—offering advice on how the organisation’s compliance, trademark protection and dispute resolution services work. The gTLD expansion affects a wide range of employees at a company, and this is their chance to keep up to speed.

The gTLD programme is not just about brands, so it is important the conference doesn’t ignore the importance of other applications. The organisers have brought in Jeff Moriarty, vice president at The Boston Globe, to hear why his company has applied for the .boston city domain, and what it can offer the inhabitants of Boston.

To finish, a panel led by Google’s domains business director Hal Bailey will discuss the future of the domain name system, looking at least 10 years down the line. The session will round up the conference, condensing the best advice for how brands, communities, consumers and the domain name industry will navigate and adapt to the new gTLD space. Who will be the winners and losers? It’s a hot topic with many different answers.

DotGreen Community is one of four applicants vying for the .green gTLD. TB&I talks to Tim Switzer, chief operating officer, to find out more about the company’s ideas.

What is the mission of DotGreen Community?

It is to bring the global green movement online. Green is a very visible and global movement, so we want to bring people together, for example to sell green products and services. This will be open and inclusive to entities that are already green, thinking about going green, or about to go green. Large and small companies, governments, NGOs and others are all welcome. Green covers things such as the environment, sustainability, corporate responsibility, social and health issues and a green economy, so the opportunity to bring this online is great.

Why is .green attractive to businesses and brand owners?

A lot of people are unaware of the green activities that companies are already encouraging, and this is a way for them to demonstrate them. For example, IBM has a multi-billion dollar programme focusing on promoting green activities; it could incorporate .green into that initiative. Wal-Mart and Target have tens of thousands of green products, and I don’t think the average consumer knows that. So such companies can use .green to highlight those products, even if they don’t change their home websites. Companies can show what they do from a green standpoint.

What kinds of companies do you expect to apply?

I expect a wide range of companies, ranging from start-ups to large multinationals. I also think there will be companies formed just for this initiative—green products and services— and these are the ones more anxious to use a .green website than to use a redirect from their home website. But, as with all new gTLDs, .green doesn’t have to replace the existing TLDs, so there is a lot of room for them to co-exist. Almost every company can point to green activities, so we have a large accessible market to target.

Do you have any IP protection mechanisms (non-mandatory)?

I think the existing mechanisms, such as the sunrise periods and trademark claims period, are very strong and we will adhere to those closely. Expanding beyond that, we will be strong on business practices and IP protection, as we want .green to be a safe space that is properly managed. We have engaged outside legal counsel that is extremely experienced in the ICANN and IP worlds.

What are you talking about at the conference?

I probably won’t be talking too specifically about .green. I’m on a panel focusing on new gTLDs in general and what they all mean. I’m on the last panel of the event, so we will look at what the landscape will look like in 2015, 2020 and 2025. It will be exciting to talk about how one measures success. In the past, people have based new gTLDs’ success on the number of names under management. But there can be a new way of measuring success, despite whether it’s 10s of thousands or millions of domains.

Communities will be part of these domains, so there will be 1,400 or so new and different ideas. People are not just launching a TLD—they are launching an idea and a brand. So we will look at what ideas will be out there, and have a brainstorm about where this might go.

This article was first published on 01 March 2013 in World IP Review

Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress, ICANN, gTLDs, conference

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