Of the many touted benefits of a .brand generic top-level domain (gTLD), innovation and creativity are just two, while authenticity—consumers know that goods sold from the address are genuine—is a third. That all sounds great, but what happens if people don’t know or even believe that a .brand is in fact the real deal? Having a swanky new internet address might sound appealing, but not if it’s simply gathering dust.
To explain how brands might overcome this hurdle, in this issue we hear from Ingrid Baele of electronics company Philips, which has applied for the .philips gTLD and plans to launch it in 2015. One way of spreading the news is to use catchy marketing campaigns, she explains, while maintaining a ‘safe’ .brand will enhance the public’s trust in it.
Most of what Baele says seems sensible, but there are still many unknowns in the new gTLD era. For example, her claim that public trust in .brands can be increased if the addresses feature prominently in search engine results, really is a big ‘if’ at the moment, as there is no indication that search engines will treat .brands any differently to .coms.
With clear doubts lingering about the benefits of .brands, Roland LaPlante of domain name registry Afilias discusses their main benefits and reviews some associated marketing trends, which include, in his words, the “fickleness of social networks”.
We round off this month’s issue by profiling travel app companies, such as Hailo and Uber, whose increasing popularity puts them at risk of brand abuse in an app world where brand protection is not as advanced as in other areas.
This issue is the first in its shortened form—16 pages—and doesn’t include any news. Instead, we are now focusing only on features. We hope you enjoy it.
Ed Conlon, Editor