Corporate Eye

Branded Domain Name Extensions are Coming with a Big Price Tag

Branded domain names could be available as early as 2009 through ICANN.  There will be financial and technical requirements that must be met by anyone applying for their own top-level domain.  In fact, it’s being speculated that these new domains could cost at least $100,000.  Instead of .com or .org and so on, you might start seeing websites with branded domains such as .McDonalds or .Microsoft by 2010.

When you think about it, a $100,000 price tag is nothing in comparison to the brand value that a branded domain offers.  It seems like a simple decision for companies to make – invest in your branded domain ASAP!

Some people are arguing that branded domains will add to the online confusion that consumers face when they’re looking for websites, but I disagree.  I think branded top-level domains are a major coup for companies and consumers.  Other people are arguing that companies won’t be interested in branded top-level domains because they’ve already invested time and money in creating their existing domain names.  Again, I think the benefits outweigh the investments.

I should mention that top-level domains will also be available for non-branded sites.  In other words, anyone who can afford the price and meets the financial and technical requirements might be able to get a top-level domain.  For example, it’s been reported that interest has already been shown in .sports.  This is where I do have to agree that confusion could occur and the usefulness of top-level domains might get watered down.  If top-level domains don’t offer a useful experience and deliver what consumers expect from them, then they won’t be anymore helpful than .com or .net domain extensions.

What do you think?  Are branded top-level domains the next phase of the internet and online branding or is this an idea that won’t live up to the hype?  Leave a comment and share your opinion.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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