Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Will it be .SEARCH or a .BRAND search engine?

Innovating in new gTLDs is risky and has to be financed, but a strong advantage that a new domain name extension has, is that...it is alone. I like to say that it is some kind of monopoly: the owner of the extension controls...the meaning of the extension and so...all contents created using one of these domain names. If selling domain names through the network of accredited registrars "is the way" to do it today to generate an income for an registry (operator of the domain name extension) there could be a much more lucrative way to operate a new gTLD: what about selling a service based on a ".brand" new gTLD?

Controlling domains
There is a benefit in controlling who can create domain names. If anyone can register a domain name in most domain name extensions offered through the network of accredited registrars, it is impossible when using ".dotbrand" ones since the extension is controlled by the owner of the Brand (let's say a trademark in this example). For example, it avoids one to register a domain name to have a fraudulent use of it. Also, it blocks squatting from happening, phishing, homoglyphs from being created, and other infringements: the Registry "is" the Brand and does not allow third parties to register domain names.

Controlling content
In the case of a trademark selling a service through controlled domain names such as ".brand" ones, controlling content is made easy since the party to receive the benefit of using the domain name has to use it according to the trademark's rules. I like to remind that the new operator of the website is not the owner of the domain name. Controlling the use of such domain names can be done in several ways:
  • Through the use of a dedicated platform, developed by the owner of the extension (ie: the .TEL Registry in 2007). In this case, there is no other possible use but to use the domain name platform.
  • Through the use of strict written rules (domain name policy). Some Trademarks already offer a such way to proceed to their affiliated but they don't sell online.
Controlling security
The advantage of controlling the "dotBRAND" is the capacity to start a project using HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) so all websites offer SSL. Few registries are "forcing" users to use secured websites: if it has always been an option for website owners, the future now shows that having a secured websites - especially when selling online - will be important in the future.

Controlling location
One Trademark might want to have a targeted worldwide presence on specific geographical areas but not on other subjects. For example, a Trademark could look for an international presence in cities but not on product names or other generic terms. Creating city names can be industrialized on a .BRAND extension: it is just a matter of having a list of city names and creating the exact same second level domain (for example: boston.extension). The benefit is that a city acquires the capacity to operate content under its real generic city name and all of them are available. Operating a www.city.brand becomes possible and has a strong SEO benefit. It also has an advantage in terms of branding: www.city.brand looks nicer than www.citybrandwhatever.com doesn't it? Also, you do not control location over a complete TLD if anyone is allowed to register any kind of domain name for any kind of content: when operating your extension, you are in total control.

Note that city names are sometimes trademarked by the cities themselves but there are mutual benefits to find arrangements with cities.

Controlling earnings
Of course, one might wonder why - but WHY - would a trademark let a third party use its name to sell its product without controlling the message sent to customers. And why, it would let complete strangers do that, redistributing them an income (ie: The Universal Yellow Pages). Actually, it is what some Trademarks do with their affiliates: franchises for example. Operating a platform dedicated to selling an online service targeting cities allows to generate a turn over:
  • per city
  • per domain name operator
  • per region
  • per country
  • per continent
  • per product
Search Engines
Search engines all work the same way: some offer a great algorithm that they sometime sell to other search engines; some offer the exact same search field with a different message and philosophy but with less content indexed. In more simple words: they all look alike and it gets back to:
  • one front page with a search field;
  • a ".com" domain name.
Why not change this and offer one page per city to better identify content for a geographical location? Most search engines already do that but they don't say it and it is unclear. Some users don't even like that since they have not been informed about it. Some don't want their content to match with their geographical location. Isn't it time to innovate and offer an alternative to search on Internet, offering multiple points of entries with a meaning, instead of...just one...which has none?

.BRAND new gTLD Reports are updated once a month: CLICK HERE !