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Guest post by Mihaela Lica Butler
With the June ICANN announcement that the gTLDs spectrum will be enriched with .brands, it became obvious that the Internet, as we know it, will soon change, and the war for relevant online real estate is afoot. Verisign predicted 1,500+ New gTLD applications for the first window , between 12 January 2012 – 12 April 2012; but ICANN will only select 500 of them all – who will be the lucky few?
Considering the it costs $185,000 to apply for a new gTLD extension and an additional $25,000 per year to keep it active, it’s easy to assume that the lucky few will also be the powerful few, namely, those companies that understand the branding value of such domain extensions, and in the end, the PR value. PR because a branded domain is a more reliable source for the customer, and also because brand value is a part of an integrated PR strategy, after all.
Many believe that ICANN’s near $200,000 price is too high, but the long term picture seems more than rewarding. A branded domain is a stronger domain, possibly ranking higher in search, particularly in Google – as the search engine giant is already giving priority placement to relevant brands. For instance, Hilton already ranks at the top for their own brand, and for Hilton hotel deals. But there are also other travel sites selling Hilton hotel deals – and for the traveler who wants to book a room with Hilton, the latest may not be as reliable. Only the original Hilton site offers the “trust” factor, but sometimes, finding these deals on the site is not the easiest thing to do. If Hilton would structure its offerings to something highly relevant, the users, and the company, can only benefit. A .brand gTLD could be used for this purpose, and the new URL could be www.deals.hilton. Continue reading
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