“dot brand” domains: do they replace or complement your existing website?

Note from Alvin: I’m back and today I have a special treat for you. Today’s post is shared with you from a gentleman that lives and operates businesses on the opposite side of the world from myself.

Hailed as a digital transformation extraordinaire in his own right, he’s the Founder and CEO of dotstories.com, and has been actively engaged and involved in the “dot brand” world quite early.

Today I’d like to introduce to you and have you warmly receive Guillaume Pahud, and his thoughts and findings on whether or not the “dot brand” replaces or complements your existing website. Enjoy and take it away Guillaume… 🙂

As of late, there have been many conversations surrounding the new domain extensions, also known as new top-level domains (TLDs).

.com domains have long been king in terms of the online world for the last 30 years and counting.

However, 596 brands, brands like American Express, Ford, Abbott and more, have applied or are applying to stake their claim in owning their dot brand TLD – the last part of the domain name – called the “dot brand”.

Seventy-five percent of these global brands, or 447 brands, commonly operate their websites today using a .com domain.

Nevertheless, the question that most have been pondering and asking about the release of the dot brand extensions still remains:

Are brands willing to migrate from their “brand.com” main site to a new dot brand, or extension more in line with their industry and line of business?

Of course, there are many on the left, middle and right sides of the dot brand conversation.

Some say the dot brands are a useless attempt to prey on the unassuming nature of the customer and are not needed. Others proclaim dot brands to be the answer for an already saturated and overly-priced .com aftermarket.

Then there are those who could make the argument both for and against either side of the dot brand conversation.

But regardless of the conversation, there are a growing number of brands progressively launching websites in “dot brand”, such as pop.swatch or lifetothefullest.abbott.

Really, how are brands using dot brand domains today?

As of this year, a deep-dive analyses of 138 brands using the dot brand domain was performed by the dot brand observatory.

The following aspects of each brand were diligently reviewed and assessed: marketing, content and technical point of view.

As of early April, these same 138 brands created 2,284 dot brand domains, out of which 37% (~845 domains) are simply not resolving while 35% (~800 domains) are used as active domain redirects.

Protecting your dot brand future with a simple redirect

Some brands have defensively registered domains and are tracking domain redirects to existing websites. Out of the 138 brands, 64 (~46%) brands are only using domain redirects.

For instance, companies such as Bloomberg and Mango are using their dot brands to measure and redirect customers to their existing respective top level domain sites.

Another example of a brand redirect is swatch.club redirecting to swatch club page hosting on .com web address.

swatch.club directs to the owners club of swatch watches.

Creating a fully developed digital presence for your dot brand

Of the 28% (~640 domains) domains with actual websites remaining, half of them are nic pages (e.g. nic.xerox, nic.marriott), which are the mandatory pages created on go live or website launch.

nic.xerox launch page

The remaining 404 websites, are what we call active websites, which are spread across 74 brands. Most of these active websites are actually very light in content.

Typically, content is more of an overview to promote their values, support some campaigns or product launches.

However, there is a growing number of fully developed dot brand TLD websites. 29 dot brand TLDs have at least one site with more than 100 pages, and only very few have their core domain in the new gTLD front.

As an example, Cern, the European center for nuclear research in Geneva, where the World Wide Web was actually invented, is one of them.

home.cern dot brand domain

In addition to moving a brand’s entire web presence to a dot brand, there are also brands that are combining their with other generic TLDs such .auto, .bank and .jobs to name a few.

For example, Abbott has simultaneously launched abbott.jobs and jobs.abbott as fully branded Abbott websites.

Abbott.Jobs dot brand domain

jobs.abbott dot brand domain

What is the future of dot brand?

In closing, the results of the dot brand review is quite early in adoption and can’t be said to be a complete failure.

Dot brand TLDs may not be at the level of a .com or any previous TLD predecessor today, but none of those domain extensions were thought to be worth much in their infancy either.

For the time being, dot brand is more used to complement and add value to the present brand websites, than as core websites.

However, this doesn’t mean that core websites using dot brand TLDs won’t change the future.

This mainly reflects a relatively prudent approach from a certain number of brands who are executing inquisitive learning and testing via pilots made in a relatively contained space.

Written by Guillaume Pahud
With experience in digital strategy and operations, change management in large groups and traditional industries, Guillaume co-founded dot stories to provide solutions for “dot brand”. He's also a regular contributor for CREA and the Master of Luxury Management from the Geneva Management School.