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International – Registrants get the ‘.club’, but are brand owners outside looking in?

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With heavyweight endorser 50 Cent throwing his weight behind the ‘.club’ gTLD, the string has shot to the top of the gTLD registrations table. However, new research suggests that brand owners are shying away from making wholesale defensive registrations.
 
At time of writing, ntldstats.com’s list of the top 10 gTLDs consists of:

  1.  ‘.club’ (61,713   domains registered)
  2.  ‘.guru’ (59,928)
  3.  ‘.berlin’ (48,163)
  4.  ‘.photography’ (36,949)
  5.  ‘.link’ (31,740)
  6.  ‘.xn--3ds443g (在线 – Chinese for ‘online) (31,627)
  7.  ‘.email’ (31,376)
  8.  ‘.today’ (25,780)
  9.  ‘.tips’ (23,258)
  10.  ‘.company’ (20,140)

Of course the list merely offers a ‘state of current play’ update, as the make-up of the top 10 will change as more gTLDs become available and the next ‘.clubs’ hit the market. Yet, it is useful to keep abreast of where registrations are flowing as this may help identify the strings that brand owners target with defensive registrations.
 
Drilling down into this, over on Brand Incite has got his calculator out to put a number on defensive registration levels in the 101 gTLDs that he has sunrise sales figures for (as provided by the respective registry operators). His conclusion is that sunrise sales in new gTLDs are lagging significantly behind the experience of their predecessors – suggesting that defensive registrations are therefore not on the agenda of many trademark owners. Amongst his findings (and his full piece is worth a read) are that the biggest sunrise was for ‘.clothing’ (675 registrations), while the total number of sunrise sales across all 101 gTLDs stands at 14,567 – or an average of 144.2 domains per new gTLD sunrise.
 
As the writer notes, the figures relate only to sunrise registrations and there will certainly be defensive moves outside these periods. After all, as reported previously, brand owner engagement in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) has not been as high as some initially anticipated (as of last week, the TMCH had experienced a total of 30,251 marks submitted, covering 117 jurisdictions. A total of 59,078 notifications had been sent out to trademark owners). Therefore, many of the brands that opted to stay out of the TMCH may be snapping up domains in specific TLDs as they become generally available.
 
Overall, though, it seems that trademark owners are being more cautious with their online spend. Or – to put a more positive spin on it – perhaps it is that they are being more strategic, targeting specific strings rather than taking a blanket approach.
 
For those who have registered in the TMCH, two strings that merit serious consideration hit sunrise this week. Both ‘.fail’ and ‘.wtf’ are prime strings for the creation of gripe sites and you would expect a larger number of defensive registrations as brands seek to minimise the risk of critical sites. Similarly, there will no doubt be a spike in defensive registrations once these strings hit general availability. Source worldtrademarkreview.com
 

James Barnley

I’m the editor of the DomainingAfrica. I write about internet and social media, focusing mainly on Domains. As a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll get a lot of information on Domain Issues, ICANN, new gtld’s, Mobile technology and social media.

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