New gTLD winds of change continue to shift

Gaining access to information on the ever-changing new gTLD ecosystem remains paramount to domain registration strategies and to maintaining a successful domain portfolio.

To date, more than 1,200 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), have been delegated, including:

  • Geographic terms (.NYC, .LONDON, .OSAKA)
  • Generics (.FILM, .FASHION, .SPORT)
  • Brands (called ‘dotbrands’ and applied for in a brand’s own name)

A TLD is considered delegated once it has been added to the internet’s authoritative database, the Root Zone. TLDs are delegated to the respective registry operator by ICANN, but the registry operator sets the timetable as to when, if ever, to launch the TLD.

Many brand owners felt challenged enough prior to the launch of the new gTLD Program, when – in 2012 – there were “only” 22 gTLDs delegated, the most well-known of which is .com. The new gTLD program has resulted in an increase of 5,445.45% of the number of gTLDs being delegated over the past five years. To say this program has had a significant impact on the domain industry, and on our clients’ brand protection efforts, is to put it mildly.

But the growth and situation aren’t as overwhelming when looking at this data from a different angle: not all TLDs that have been delegated by ICANN have been launched to actively allow domain registrations, and more than 500 of these new gTLDs are dotbrands.

That said, it is important that brand owners not rest on their laurels, as new gTLDs can be reassigned, and can move from being a dotbrand to a generic TLD. A recent example of this is .MONSTER. This TLD’s contract was reassigned, and it now appears that this dotbrand TLD will become a generic TLD under the new registry operator. Brand owners not planning to protect their brands in the .MONSTER TLD must now consider doing so, especially if the TLD takes on an identity as a synonym to “expert” as .NINJA and .GURU.

This is not the first new gTLD to be reassigned by shifting from a dotbrand to a generic TLD – and likely will not be the last. With more than 1,220 new gTLDs delegated, the chance for continuing change is nearly guaranteed.

Our Global Relationship Management team works hard to keep up-to-date on industry changes so that MarkMonitor can disseminate information to our clients as effectively as possible. Our Client Services Manager team in collaboration with our Domain Strategy team then turn this knowledge into meaningful strategic guidance that assists our clients in the successful day-to-day administration of their domain portfolios.

Our goal at MarkMonitor is to help you make the best brand protection and domain management decisions, and we would be happy to assist you today.