|Technology and finance industries to dominate new domain applications|
Would it help marketing and customer retention if a bank’s internet address were something like www.customerfirst.abcbank?
The prospect of getting such a moniker, called a “top-level domain,” is attracting a number of banks. Such an opportunity is available for only a limited time, however.
A third of all applicants participating in ICANN's (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) new Top-Level Domain program will come from the IT and financial services industries, according to figures released by ARI Registry Services as the application window opened Jan. 12.
ARI Registry Services predicts more than 1,000 applications will be submitted before the April 12 deadline.
According to the new top-level domain technology provider, brands have shown the strongest interest with two thirds of all applications expected to be for a .brand TLD. This will be followed by entrepreneurs (30% of applications) seeking to profit from generic terms like .shop or .hotel. The remaining 10% will come from governments and other groups wanting to represent their city or region online with a geographic TLD like .sydney, .paris or .tokyo.
Consumers and internet users will see the first new top-level domains appear online from early 2013.
Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services, says: “Analysis of more than 400 clients we’ve engaged with globally over the past year shows technology and finance companies in Asia Pacific and the United States lead the pack.”
Strongest interest has come from businesses in the Asia Pacific region (52%), followed by the United States (29%), Europe (10%), Middle East (7%) and Africa (2%).
“The first round of new domains will be dominated by technology brands (20%), as the IT industry recognizes the huge opportunity to innovate. This will be closely followed by banks and other financial service providers (11%) who are jumping at the opportunity for the increased online security and trust that comes with a .brand domain,” Kinderis says.
Speculating on the results, Kinderis says the attractive sales and marketing benefits of new top-level domains has likely appealed to the IT, finance, and retail industries as a way to differentiate themselves—especially important in light of the economic downturn.
“A .brand new top-level domain will deliver improved trust, leadership, customer engagement, and message recall by providing a direct connection between the customer and the brand experience online. The rapid growth of e-commerce and online retail also complements the move to a .brand domain name. For example, in the near future we may see short, relevant, and memorable domain names such as iphone.apple, creditcards.hsbc and shoes.nike.”
However, Kinderis warns that potential applicants need to act quickly if they want to reap these benefits.
Kinderis says a research report commissioned by ARI Registry Services in November found there is a low level of awareness about the program globally. Despite this, the report found significant revenue potential for entrepreneurs to own industry-specific top-level domains such as .shop, .law or .hotel and commercialize them by on-selling second-level domains to relevant businesses (e.g. retailername.shop or lawfirm.law). It suggested that multi-million dollar annual returns are on offer for applicants willing to invest in a new TLD.
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