Most brands applied for gTLD(s) to protect their brand and ensure they didn’t miss an important new opportunity, but few had a clear business case for how they would use the gTLD platform when they applied. While the $185,000 price tag was substantially more than acquiring a typical domain, the short window of time to apply and ability to receive a partial refund made it a risk worth taking. Once the world learned that Google applied for 101 top level domains and Amazon for 76 and half of the world’s top brands all applied (not to mention there will be 900+ new generic terms entering the internet in the next two years), most brands determined it was worth staying in the game. Many remain skeptical about serious erosion of .com, but the potential for change at an accelerating pace cannot be overlooked. Most teams can see some advantages and ways to use the gTLD, however, the business case, ROI and strategy remain elusive.
Over the last 18 months, brands have worked their way through the initial evaluation process and are now ready for contracting. In most companies, the legal department has been charged with acquisition and policy management. As legal moves into contracting, they continue to call for their digital marketing, IT and business counterparts to step up and build a plan. To do so requires creative and visionary thinking, new assumptions and objective facilitation to move a diverse group of business leaders to mobilize around this opportunity. Because there is no external driving force or clear road map, it’s easy to let this one languish. But, with all brands moving into contracting, the opportunity to be an innovative digital leader in the marketplace is now. Bridging the gap between IT, Legal, Marketing and Digital Operations with clear direction from the C-Suite on overarching strategy is not most company’s strong suit. But building a roadmap ahead doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the basics: