engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign at the INTA
annual meeting in San Diego -photo courtesy of John
Last week, the judiciary committee of the US House of
Representatives held a
hearing on, among other things, the dot-sucks gTLD. Several
people at the hearing used the phrase "extortion", including
Congresspersons Darrell Issa and Jerrold Nadler. Many witnesses
echoed similar sentiments, saying that the Vox Populi, the
registrar behind dot-sucks, is violating the spirit of the
ICANN agreements and rules, especially its tiered pricing model
that charges more to brand owners.
Issa seemed to question the necessity of the new gTLDs
altogether, suggesting that the new domains have led to a
business model built largely on collecting registration fees
from brand owners who need to defend their marks. This view
seems consistent with rights holders who have spoken with
Managing IP- many focus on the
challenges brought by
defending their brands in an
enlarged namespace and
do not really see advantages in the programme.
However, some are seeing opportunities in the new gTLDS.
recently announced that it will transfer its websites away
from the traditional domains such as dot-com to its own
dot-barclays and dot-barclaycard domains. In its
press release, the bank said that transitioning to its own
branded TLDs would increase security, making it "crystal clear"
that the user is on a Barclays site.
Barclays is not the only brand owner to adopt a more
positive outlook on the new gTLDs.
Jeremy Kaufman of Fox told Managing IP at the INTA annual
meeting that in addition to the security advantages that would
come from controlling its own gTLD, a dot-fox domain could be a
useful tool for marketing. For example, he explained that Fox
has a number of local television affiliates spread throughout
the United States, and having a .fox domain would help unify
the way these stations maintain their web presences.
And perhaps more interestingly, Kaufman also said that Fox
may actually save money in the long run, as this means that it
no longer has to buy domains from squatters or maintain domains
in multiple countries.
This is not necessarily a new development- the Australian
Football League has talked about its plans for
running its own gTLDs for a while now. However, there does
appear now to be more brand owners who see the new gTLDs as
something more than just another trade mark-related headache to
deal with. In fact, some people told Managing IP that
they expect the next round of new gTLDs, expected to next
year or the year after that, to be predominantly branded
domains as opposed to generic ones such as dot-club or
What do you think? Will more brand owners warm up to the new
gTLDs? Or will the expanded namespace to be something that,
from their perspective, dot-sucks?