Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sad day for new gTLDs or...wrong move?

McDonald's is withdrawing its new gTLD applications. For whatever reason, someone at McDonald's took the decision to terminate the two applications for its domain names ending in ".mcdonalds" and ".mcd".


What the notice says
  • McDonald's Corporation, in its function as the Registry Operator has represented to ICANN that it does not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registrations in the .mcdonalds TLD to third parties.
  • Transitioning operation of the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest.
  • .mcdonalds qualifies as a .Brand TLD.
  • Only one domain name is registered in the .mcdonalds TLD and it is mandated by the Registry Agreement (nic.mcdonalds).

McDonald's is good at Marketing
One thing that is for sure is that McDonald's is good at Marketing: they have been able to sell Hamburgers to French and make them addicted. They've also been able to have millions of American to eat their Hamburgers using "Bread", "Cheese" and "French fries". No doubt: they are excellent at selling hamburgers ;-)

With so many people working on the best ways to market its products, the giant seems have taken the decision to capitalize on using country code Top-Level domains (such as ".fr" for example)* instead of its own domain name extension.

*Oh...and ".com" too.

$40,000 a year to operate...so why?
There are such offers to operate a TLD and this includes the prohibitive ICANN fee of $25,000 a year so...when you're McDonald's: why would you withdraw your application when you don't know about the future? It is even possible that these fee will lower - for .BRAND new gTLD applicants - in the future round of the ICANN new gTLD program: isn't this another good reason to keep a .BRAND new gTLD?

"What if"
What if Papa John's, Jack in the Box, Arby's, Dairy Queen, Little Caesars, Big Fernand (and its "hamburg├ęs"), Carl's Jr./Hardee's, Chipotle, Sonic Drive-In, Domino's, KFC, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin' Donuts, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Burger King, Subway or Starbucks submit an application in the next round and decide to create one domain name per restaurant opened or city covered? That could add a lot of visibility for these restaurants and make a difference when it comes to entering "hamburger" on Google (or Bing).

I am not even trying to contact McDonald's to understand such move but as a marketer myself, let's just say that if there are more, or as many, .BRAND new gTLD applications in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program, I will consider that this choice was...not a good one: it is to me far to early for a Trademark like McDonald's to withdraw its new gTLD applications.

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