dotBRANDs, Protection and Trust for Brands
What are dotBRANDs?
The generic extensions .com / .org, or domains with a country code – for example .de – are still the top-level domains (TLDs) most widely used on the Internet. But the use of dotBRANDs is on the rise. The difference is that dotBRANDs contain the brand name of the respective brand in the extension (website.brand / support.brand / home.brand).
The brand-specific extension enables customers to connect directly with the trusted brand of their choice and to communicate directly within the company’s brand environment. With regard to possible abuse – for example, potential fraud and phishing attacks – this offers an enormous advantage: users can be sure that a website they visit or an email they receive from a company really does come from that company. The fact that users can be so certain in this respect comes down to the application process for the domain – more on this later.
From the company’s perspective
From the point of view of the company, the dotBRAND also generates more trustworthy communication. If a company used to register the brand name with, at best, all generic extensions, this is no longer necessary. The major advantage is that the trust – i.e. the confidence in the brand – is secured and transported via the domain. As the owner of a trademark, brands own the entire namespace, so that copycats can be better identified. Unfortunately, companies often do not even know that their brand name is currently being abused.
dotBRANDs and the General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May 2018, made it more complicated on the basis of WHOIS to find out who the owner of a domain is. If criminals register a domain for abusive activities, they can hide behind the non-visibility of WHOIS data. With a dotBRAND, the namespace can be much better controlled.
Advantages in a nutshell:
- Registration of trackable web addresses of companies
- Increased security against abuse of trademarks
- Strengthening of users’ brand awareness
How can I apply for a dotBRAND?
The non-profit organisation ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is responsible for assigning top-level domains. Unlike regular domains, there are specific application windows for the registration of your own dotBRAND (going back most recently to 2012).
The application process is laborious: Information and evidence are required to corroborate the technical requirements and the type of application. However, there are now companies that specialise in assisting with this process.
The question as to when the next application phase will be is not yet clear; however, it is not expected to be too far down the line.
For intensifying trust and the experience of brand environments, dotBRANDs are a good instrument. However, they are still more difficult to obtain and are more cost-intensive than the usual generic domains, which means that they are not yet very widespread.
In the future, however, dotBRANDs are likely to play a greater role in terms of digital brand identity.
You can learn more about dotBRANDs on eco Association’s dotmagazine: