In 2012, ICANN announced the receipt of 1,930 applications for new Top Level Domains (TLDs). Having spent two decades in corporate digital environments, I immediately gasped. This is the worst nightmare for brand executives and their long suffering IP counsels battling it out with nefarious actors infringing on brand digital identities. Bad actors could now register any number of infringing domains across scores of new TLDs. A nightmare with two seemingly unresolvable problems;
- It would be cost prohibitive and ineffective to register defensive domains across all or even a subset of TLDs.
- It would be even more costly and consume more IP counsel time in a futile whack-a-mole effort to recover or have suspended brand infringing domains. What a nightmare! What to do?
My next thoughts turned this scenario completely on its head and presents a simple, elegant, execution and cost sustainable solution. Brands could now own their proprietary piece of the internet with a BRAND REGISTRY. Action:
- Invest in an innovation mission on your brand registry ecosystem that is fully owned and controlled.
- Educate the market that your brand registry space is authentic, secure and trusted.
- Divest all but core defensive positions that contribute no innovation lever or business growth value.
Quite simply, brand registries are the best defense to protect and grow brand identity in the name space. They are also a platform for brand innovation, but for now, consider the brand registry attributes for defense.
The brand fully controls the registry. No one can register a domain unless authorized by the brand or its affiliates. Obviously then, no one can publish content on a domain unless it is brand authorized.
As brands deploy and the public becomes educated, label.brand destinations will become recognized as a top signal for brand authentic destinations on which audiences will engage and transact commerce.
Owning the right of the dot provides brands with new capabilities on a network at the root of the internet. This is a security layer that has never before been available to brands. It will allow security technologists to layer in protection on a network of their consumers, suppliers, partners, points of presence and networked devices.
- Easy to Educate
Our digital savvy society is extremely adept to change. The idea of a brand registry is a very simple message to communicate. It is equally novel, which will attract attention at launch. Engage a user once with a brand registry property and they will not forget it. Ever. Thereafter trusted, above all other destinations.
#1, #2, #3 and #4 and you win the consumer trust prize. Trust will become increasingly important as bad actors continue attempts to spoof and/or hijack brand identities. The brand registry is a walled brand garden.
Easy to communicate, memorable and targeted. Any program can be easily communicated to target audiences with clarity of messaging. Audiences will recognize brand authentic and trusted destinations. They will also remember them because they are simple; keymessage.brand. Finally, we will see the end of forward slash which no one types in.
A brand registry is massively scalable. With this new digital ecosystem, the brand can scale a presence from a few hundred properties to millions of points of presence under various use cases, all managed within a secure and controlled registry ecosystem. Consider: IoT.brand, customer.brand, product.brand, channel.brand, keymessage.brand.
- Cost Benefit
Once deployed and understood internally, the brand registry is a very economical digital presence. Scalable at a nominal incremental cost, compared to the endless cost of proactively registering defensive names and the cost to recover brand related domains. With scale, a brand can transition their defensive cost burden, to investments geared towards digital innovations and business growth ROI.
- Focus Team Cycles on Innovation vs Defensive Rabbit Holes
Often overlooked, team focus is critical for any business success. Strategy executives, digital managers and their legal teams spend countless hours and corporate funds spinning on defensive risk mitigation strategies. Any program that goes out the door requires consideration of time and money, to consider and execute simultaneous defensive strategies. With a brand registry, the requirement to employ the costly cycles to defensive contingencies fall away. Teams can focus on innovation and growth vs defensive obsessions.
There are those that complain about new TLDs due to the increased cost and effort to defend brand identities. These people are misinformed, and are at risk of missing the boat. The attitude shows a lack of understanding of the new brand registry capabilities, the opportunity to innovate and the future for brand authentic digital identities. Digital leaders and IP counsels need to recognize that a brand registry is the best defensive solution – bar none. It addresses two issues every business needs. It secures the brand identity at a reasonable cost and provides a platform for digital innovation. That’s a winning digital direction.
If you want to learn more, download our educational white paper designed to inform brand executives and contact us at Authentic Web. We love this stuff and have invested years of thinking to build a next generation domain management and intelligence technology designed specifically for enterprise teams to outcompete in the New TLD Era.
Thanks for checking in. Peter