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what's in a name

In gTLD Debate, More Big Brands Take Issue With ICANN's Dotbrand URLs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2011 11:14 AM

We recently looked at the coalitions of brands joining forces to voice their opposition to how ICANN is ushering in its so-called dotbrand URLs (aka its new gTLD, or generic Top-Level Domain program that lets trademark holders pay for the right to add their brand name to their web addresses, such as .nike or .coke) in January. Now you can add a few more.

The U.S.-based Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (or CRIDO) led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has added six major marketers to their ranks, including the world’s largest retailer and second-largest food company. Walmart, Kraft Foods, adidas, Reebok, Toyota and the J.M. Smucker Company have joined CRIDO, bringing the total number of companies and industry groups to 93.

“We are very pleased that six more leading marketers representing an extremely broad range of business sectors have joined forces with CRIDO to oppose ICANN’s TLD expansion program,” commented ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice. “This growing coalition sends a very clear signal that there is serious dissatisfaction with ICANN’s program from across the entire Internet stakeholder community.”Continue reading...

what's in a name

Overstock.com Backpedals on O.co Rebranding

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2011 11:25 AM

Overstock.com announced in January that it was rebranding its URL to O.co as a speedier online shortcut to its wares. In June, it unveiled the new name and logo at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA (above) in time for a U2 concert, a signage change that following Overstock's six-year deal in April for naming rights to the home of NFL's Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics MLB franchise.

"Our customers associate 'O' with Overstock.com, which made the transition to O.co seamless. As a Savings Engine, this is the next step in adding more visibility to our shortcut," said Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne in a press release. "Naming the facility O.co Coliseum demonstrates our commitment to seeing through the execution of the new domain."

"Overstock.com is clearly at the forefront of digital marketing and their decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way, underscores their willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo," commented Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS in the same release. "With the exponential growth of mobile commerce, where shaving milliseconds means gaining a strategic competitive advantage, customers around the world can now reach the company's products and services quickly and securely by simply typing O.co — the shortest possible URL in the world."

Now, however, the company is backing off from the new name because customers couldn't find its snappy new URL.Continue reading...

masters of their domains

'ICANN' Buy .XXX Now, But US Brands Spurn Costly New Top-Level Domains

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 10, 2011 11:01 AM

Looking to get fancy with your site’s URL? It’ll cost you $185,000 to do it. 

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit group that oversees the Internet’s address system, currently has 22 generic endings, such as .com, .edu, and .org. But it will open the doors to applications on Jan. 12 to let sites buy up whatever tags they’d like at a price of $185,000 per URL. (Earlier this week, ICANN opened up .xxx web addresses to all of you in the adult-entertainment industry who have been waiting so patiently.)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, though, that the program “is failing to win over U.S. brand owners.”Continue reading...

web watch

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...

web watch

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...

web watch

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...

web watch

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...

name game

The Domain Remains the Same: The Tea Party Dot Com Rocks On

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 16, 2011 02:36 PM

As the twin gods of fate and irony would have it, an online search for "the Tea Party" promotes the Canadian rock band of the same name, with teaparty.com leading to the band's homepage, where visitors are met with the greeting: “No politics…just Rock and Roll.”

The Led Zeppelinesque Canadian band officially broke up in 2005 but they regrouped this year for a reunion tour. Still, their domain name is being eyed by the US Tea Party movement and others with a political agenda. With 2012 US campaigning heating up the band's domain name is a hot property, still high in Google rank and the first web address that comes to mind for the political Tea Party.

The digital situation is confusing to all concerned, including the musicians. “So much damage has been done to our name by the political movement that we’re considering selling” the domain, comments the band's bassist, Stuart Chatwood, to Bloomberg Businessweek.Continue reading...

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