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As Dotbrand URLs Loom, ICANN Faces gTLD Backlash [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2011 10:55 AM

The imminent change in domain names that will be ushered in by ICANN's new gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) program is turning into a veritable war.

A last-minute campaign to stop it is being led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which has reached out to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Direct Marketing Association, and more than 20 other advertising and marketing organizations to join their protest. They're lobbying Congress and the Commerce Department on the new TLD program, which is scheduled to commence on January 12th, with the ANA telling Adweek they will take their objections to court if necessary.

Separately, another consortium of brands and trademark holders calling themselves CADNA, or the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, is hosting a conference today in New York, where they will discuss their concerns and collective proposal to ICANN. With speakers including the VP of legal for DirecTV and the former VP of digital for Mattel, CADNA is taking a less aggressive approach to the issue.Continue reading...

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Google Tries to Do It All for You

Posted by Matthew Moore on October 31, 2011 01:01 PM

Ten years ago, brandchannel quoted a Google spokesperson as saying “It seems counterintuitive to the concept of stickiness, but the point of Google is to allow people to find information as soon as possible and get on their way.” Ten years later, it appears Google would prefer its users to stay in its realm for as long as possible.

Google has come a long way since Sergey Brin and Larry Page started a research project at Stanford in 1996 that would eventually grow into a company employing 30,000 and producing nearly $30 billion in revenue each year. In doing so, Google has expanded its offering from a search engine to a full-fledged suite of services including email, social networking, cloud storage for files and music, and daily deals. Google even recently opened its own branded products store in London.

Google has always been an innovative company, but it has seen some of its innovative thunder stolen by others such as Facebook and Groupon. In order to remain the first-in-mind internet destination for its users, Google has decided to take to some of its web competitors on their own turf. Google+ takes aim at Facebook, and Google Offers is targeted at daily deals sites Groupon and Living Social. As it keeps rolling out new products, Google seems content to throw its brand's name in front of just about any serve it's offering: Google Voice, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc.Continue reading...

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Groupon Takes Its Show on the Road (and Ellen) to Prep for IPO

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2011 10:01 AM

In the last few months, Groupon has had its COO resign and had to restate its first half revenue as $688 million rather than the originally stated $1.5 billion. Not great PR for a company planning its IPO, right? (Although the brand's tie-ins, including the Halloween stunt above, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show have proved a PR coup.)

The company is plowing ahead and plans to go public on Nov. 3rd, according to the Wall Street Journal. Before then, the Chicago-based deal aggregator is traveling across the nation to convince big investors to throw oodles of cash their way.Continue reading...

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Deloitte, Canon and Motorola Nab Dotbrand Web Addresses

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 21, 2011 04:02 PM

Internet real estate as we know it will change irrevocably on January 12th, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) starts taking applications for its new Top-Level Domain Program.

There are (currently) 22 generic TLDs (gTLDs) such as .com, .org and .net, and 250 specific country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) like .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, .jp for Japan and .mx for Mexico. Come January, however, virtually any word or brand name can become a gTLD for a $185,000 application fee, proof of being able to pay for the gTLD going forward, and sufficient justification by the brand.

Dotbranding introduces a whole new way to surf the web, enhancing companies’ SEO strategy, heightening protection against interlopers and cybersquatters, and letting brand names serve as web addresses with the potential for a variety of sub-domains.

Deloitte, Canon, Hitachi, Motorola and UNICEF are filing for their .brand web addresses, according to Marketing Week in the UK.Continue reading...

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IPO or No, Groupon has the Goods

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 30, 2011 01:16 PM

There's never a dull moment at Groupon HQ in Chicago. Besides the rampant speculation about what's happening with its IPO, this week the daily deals site quietly launched Groupon Goods.

According to CNN and the site's FAQ, Groupon Goods marks an expansion from service-industry offers to "really good deals on great products. To get airspace on Groupon Goods, a product has to be cool enough to share and innovative enough to inspire. It also must be made of reliably bonded molecules and stardust. Honestly, if we think a product is remarkable and we can offer a good deal on it, we'll do so."

As for its closely-watched IPO plans, Groupon filed the papers to go public in June. Since then, though, the company that thrills bargain hunters (and fills the inboxes of others, to the tune of five billion email messages per month) with its daily-deal emails touting everything from pizza joints to spa facials has had a run of bad news that has pushed its planned IPO back.Continue reading...

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Dotbranding Debate: gTLD Saga Continues as .XXX Deadline Looms

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 28, 2011 05:29 PM

As brands mull over whether to purchase the dot-brand URL versions of their names as part of ICANN's new online gTLD domain naming rules (along with the new application procedures), place-based brands are securing their preferred top-level domains.

eWeek Europe reports that there's a move to secure the .london domain for the city of London, while .scot is being eyed by Scottish officials for tourism and place branding digital duties.

Meanwhile, in another part of the dotbranding URL saga, one month today (Oct. 28) is the deadline for brand owners to block others from snapping up the "brand.xxx" versions of digital domains — and possible .XXXploitation of their cherished, trademarked brand names.

While plenty of companies are busy blocking their products from being used in the .xxx URLs that will be used to identify sites with pornographic material, there is one brand in particular that is embracing (among other things) the concept: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.Continue reading...

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ICANN or ISHOULD? Domain Name Battle Heats Up

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 23, 2011 05:33 PM

The Internet domain name industry is in upheaval as the self-appointed central authority, ICANN, is challenged by seismic shifts in economics and consumer choice.

The debate over new and expanded gTLD’s is heating up even more as Monday’s latest version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook along with a new dedicated microsite were released.

The deadline to register in ICANN’s TLD Application System (TAS) in the first round is January 12 through April 12, 2012, with registration in the TAS by 11:59 pm UTC on March 29, 2012. 

As FairWinds Partners advised clients this week, “ICANN can continue to amend the Guidebook as it sees fit with no community input and no outside review process. It can even alter the Guidebook after the application period opens on January 12, 2012. So stay alert, keep reading gTLD Strategy for policy updates, and please email us with any questions.” 

Voices from all corners are weighing in on the imminent changes where money will buy brands domains.Continue reading...

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BBC Apple Web 3.0 Gestures

Posted by Michael Waltzer on September 22, 2011 05:26 PM

Gestures, swipes, and touch. These three things are where the user experience for not only the web, but software as well, is headed. A prime example would be the concept behind the looming BBC website redesign.

This week, the beta site went live for all to see, as PaidContent noted.

The BBC comments: “The beta provides a first glimpse of core design principles that will underpin the reshaped BBC Online, which take into account changing user behaviours including the preference for ‘swiping’ through content – increasingly intuitive given the rise of touch-screen smart phones and tablets.”

“It is envisaged that these principles will be reflected across the evolving products of BBC Online, and pave the way for a graphically-rich London 2012 Olympics digital offer.”

The site is full of interactive carousels that "could make the page work harder to showcase more of the BBC’s output on air, on TV and online," says the BBC. Check it out below.Continue reading...

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