Spring evening in Herald Square
Gratuitous picture

Kevin Murphy, editor of Domainincite, has a pretty interesting teaser for an analysis — subscription required (maybe he’ll shoot me one, though?) — of how the world’s biggest brands use new gTLDs:

DomainIncite PRO is excited to reveal the results of the domain name industry’s first in-depth study into how the world’s biggest brands use new generic top-level domains.

In March and April 2012, we surveyed the domain name ownership and usage patterns of the world’s 100 most-valuable brands — representing over $1.2 trillion in brand value, according to Interbrand â€” in six gTLDs introduced since 2001.

As well as confirming the long-held belief that brand owners see little value in defensive registrations — many not even choosing to benefit from residual traffic — the survey also revealed which brands are more likely to develop their sites, which are most vulnerable to cybersquatting, and which appear to care the least about enforcing their brands.

We also examined how “cybersquatters” use the domain names they register, with some surprising results.

Privacy/proxy registration is not nearly as prevalent as many believe, our study found, and a significant portion of registrants have made no effort to monetize the domains they own that match famous brand names.

I wish I had time to get on top of this stuff.  Just from the teaser, however, I’m perceiving one thing that I had predicted is, kind of, coming to pass:  Domain names are, in fact, becoming passé.

I don’t assume Kevin puts it that way in his report.  After all, he’s got this domaining blog; it’s like his life’s work, and that of many others; and just ask my friend Paul Keating — there’s plenty going in UDRP-land, governed as it is by a non-law interpreted by non-courts  (not like our oh-so-with-it real courts!).  Even I play the domain game from time to time.

But reading between the lines of the above, it seems that domain names are of some relevance, yes, but mainly as a part of a far more complex formula that determines how people get places on the Internet and what they “get” once they get there.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

6 thoughts on “Defensive domaining”
  1. Hi Ron,

    You’re right, we did not conclude that domain names are becoming “passe”.

    We found that almost half of defensively registered brands (47.6%) do not resolve at all — not even to redirect to the .com site.

    While survey was a snapshot in time, and did not delve into historical use, I’d hazard a guess that these domains have *never* resolved.

    The gTLDs we looked at were launched between 2001 and 2007, and one of our findings was that more recently introduced gTLDs (.mobi and .jobs for example) are used by these brands much more often than the older ones (.biz and .info).

    I’d say that defensively registered domains have *always* been of limited utility, but registries can encourage use if they have additional value propositions.

    Kevin Murphy
    Domain Incite

  2. Thanks for your comments, Kevin. Not having seen your report, what I am getting at beyond defensive registrations is a somewhat bigger picture, including the fact that while new gTLD’s are almost universally decried by brand owners as a problem, the more of them there are, the greater the dilutive effect — a given domain name that incorporates or is otherwise arguably a threat to someone’s trademark is, increasingly, less likely to be (and should be perceived by the public as less likely to be) “the site” of the brand owner.

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