–Susan Perera, Attorney

Earlier this week ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved a major change to top-level Internet domains (TLDs).


Soon we will no longer be limited to the standard 22 top-level domains including .com, .org, and .net. In fact, your brand could soon be its own top-level domain.  For example, Canon has stated its interest in applying for the .canon top-level domain. ICANN currently anticipates receiving between 300 and 1000 applications during the initial acceptance window (Jan. 12, 2012 – Apr. 12, 2012).

While some are touting the advantages of acquiring a large branding platform and potentially increased security, others have identified the costly need for potentially more defensive registrations.  (Interesting fact: Over 90% of the domain names in corporate portfolios are estimated to be defensive registrations).

You too could have your own top-level domain for a mere $185,000 application fee.  Seem steep?   Many single second-level domains have sold for much more.

So, how will this new development influence your branding strategy? Will you act offensively to grab a top-level domain that you might be interested in, or actively monitor the process for potentially conflicting applications by third parties?