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Could brand gTLD owners use subdomains like apps?

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Most brand gTLD applicants like Apple, Microsoft, McDonalds, American Express, Macy’s, JP Morgan, BMW, Lexus,  Toyota, Target, Walmart, Safeway, and Johnson & Johnson,  to name just a few, are starting to plan for how they will use their brand gTLD(s) in 2014.  While most brands are in agreement that just migrating the home page from .com isn’t the solution, they are looking for an innovative strategy to deploy in their roll out.  Most brands are concerned about how consumers will adopt to this new way of navigating the web and don’t want to lose the valuable search equity they have in their existing .com sites.

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The Future of Retail: Digital versus. Real World

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Sometimes I’m not sure which world is the real one.  The one I live in online via Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, email and surfing everything I need all day online or the one that happens when I leave work and get in my car.  But even then, do I want the real experience or the digital experience? One of my favorite hobbies, a little retail therapy,  is even more fun online these days.  If I go to the mall, I have to fight traffic, find a place to park, and walk around trying to find what I need.  Then I have to hope they have something I like in my size or the color I want, and if I realize I also need something for my son, I have to walk all over the place looking for it.  All too often, what I want is not in stock and the store has to order it for me anyway.  Then I have to carry all the bags back to my car and fight traffic again.  Back at home, however, the experience is altogether different.  I can keep track of what I need and then when I have time in the evening or on the weekend, I can jump online with a tablet.  I can search from one store to the next and compare prices, colors, sizes and check sales.  I can read reviews people have written and decide what I want.  I can shop all over the place while relaxing by the pool in the summer or a cozy fire in the winter.  And since most places offer free shipping and sometimes even free returns, when I’m not sure which size is right, I might just order two.  A few days later the nice UPS truck driver pulls down my driveway and cheerfully drops off boxes and boxes to my complete delight.  I can leisurely try things on and decide what I want and what needs to be returned.  The same for my growing son.  Rather than dragging him to the mall, we order online and then decide what works.  What could be easier?

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How the Fashion Industry will use New gTLDs

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The fashion industry is always one season ahead.  But is it ready for a digital transformation with gTLDs?  Many big fashion and luxury brands applied for their own gTLD.    What could we expect in the fashion space as new gTLDs create new digital worlds for top brands?  Let’s start with who applied.  In fashion, we saw some big fashion houses like Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Coach, as well as powerhouse luxury Richemont with its suite of luxury brands:  Omega, Piaget, and Chloe, Mont Blanc, to name just a few.   

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Successfully Monitoring Your Brand Online with Brandshield Technology

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  As I continue to search for new products and services that will help companies manage their digital real estate in the future of the expanded internet environment, I have been fortunate to come across a great company, Brand Shield.  I’ve tested their product for the last 6 – 9 months for several clients and found the results to be incredibly powerful.  With a dramatically expanding internet environment, now more than ever you need to know when and how people use your brand and certain key words associated with your brand across the internet and the thousands of new top level domains.  But, it’s not just about brand protection. You can’t acquire everything or stop everyone, but you do want to acquire what matters.  And, you want to spot important trends about your business.

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Want to Know the Future of Your Business? Digital Trends & Analytics Provide Critical Insights

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We live in a digital age and the insights to your business come from understanding two critical data points:

What will you do with your brand gTLD?

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If you are in charge of the gTLD inside your company, there are no shortage of ideas, but getting them into concrete form that can move forward may prove a bit challenging.  We’ll be hosting a webinar this month to discuss the ideation process and offer ideas on how the new gTLDs can be used by brands, but offer here a few ideas of our own, as well as structure to help you consider how to facilitate these discussions inside your organization. 

What’s in a Name? How to secure the new Digital Addresses

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Digital marketers are likely aware or are starting to hear about new ideas in the domain space or digital addresses as I like to refer to them in marketing terms.  Whether it’s how your company could use a .guru or .technology address or how new campaigns like bleach.solutions or antiaging.solutions could be used as part of a digital strategy, what do you really need and how do you get it?  In the past,  domain names were usually just one part of building out new campaigns and usually an afterthought.  The fact that agencies viewed acquiring the domain name as an after thought is why many brands have shelled out five, six and even seven figures for a domain name.  Once they’ve spent hundreds of thousands or more in building a new product, business model or campaign, why wouldn’t they shell out a little more for a memorable domain name.  But with 900+  new segmented spaces on the internet launching over the next two years and half of the world’s top brands launching their own digital worlds at the top level, what do you need to acquire to have in your digital arsenal?  Will agencies start to think more strategically when they develop campaigns?  What about smaller businesses  - will they move into a more segmented space? 

Budgeting for Brand gTLDs

budgetFor most companies, the gTLD was an investment in the future of the internet in response to a short time window in which to apply for a gTLD.  Wanting to gain a competitive edge, half the world’s top brands invested the $185,000 application fee for one or more gTLDs.  Now that gTLDs are moving forward and more money will need to be invested to actually develop the gTLD as platform, whose budget should cover the costs?  In many companies the initial application fee came out of a slush fund or extra fund for these types of unexpected opportunity costs.  In others, it came out of legal, IT or marketing.  As the gTLD moves forward and development costs begin, however, it is helpful for companies to consider how to structure the gTLD in the budget as a capital asset. 

 

Roadmap to the Brand gTLD

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I spend a lot of time talking with digital marketing leaders inside companies which applied for a new brand gTLD.  They are all facing some of the same challenges – where to begin?  It’s an enormous undertaking to even consider what to do with the gTLD.  Everyone know simply moving the .com isn’t the answer, but what is the right approach?  We’ll be hosting a webinar in a few weeks and cover in more detail a roadmap to planning for a gTLD.  In the interim, I’ve outlined a few of the key points in this week’s blog.

The Age of Digital Transformation

Most digital marketers realize we are in an age of digital transformation.  As Schmidt & Cohen said in their book, The New Digital Age, "What you can watch on your various displays . .  . will be determined by you, not by network-television schedules.  At your fingertips will be an entire world's worth of digital content, constantly updated, ranked and categorized to help you find the music, movies, shows, books, magazines, blogs and art you like."  And not only are consumers finding themselves in charge, the accelerated adoption of new technologies means that as we live our life in the digital world, we more rapidly accept and adopt to new ways of doing things.  Consider a few transformations in the past of how we communicate and find entertainment. 

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