Frequently Asked Questions

The domain industry is a nuanced market with unique terminology and a complex combination of technical and regulatory dynamics.

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General Questions

Who is ICANN?

ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, sometimes referred to as the governing body of the Internet. It is a non-profit US entity based in California with offices located around the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 to manage the names (Domain Names) and numbers (IP Addresses) of the Domain Name System (DNS). There are plans in process to transition ICANN from US government oversight to an international multi-stakeholder governed organization.

Why is this TLD expansion different?

Never before have we had a TLD expansion of this scale with names that mean something; such as .bank, .london, and .nike. Prior to this expansion we had the odd new TLD such as .xxx, .mobi, .pro, and .travel. While these TLDs also had meaning, they were too few to really change the taxonomy of the Internet. And never before have brands been able to own an exclusive domain extension for their use. Read the New TLD Story to gain a historic perspective about the domain expansion.

What is a TLD?

TLD is the acronym for “Top Level Domain”. A TLD is the term to the right of the dot. For example; .com, .org and .net are TLDs, and so are .club, .design, .nyc, . london, .google, .fox, .bmw, and .barclays.

What is a ccTLD?

A ccTLD is a country code top level domain such as .uk representing the United Kingdom, or .us representing the United States or .ca representing Canada. There are more than 250 country codes in existence today. Country codes are the only TLDs that are permitted to have two letters.

What is an SLD?

SLD is the acronym for “Second Level Domain”. It is a TLD that includes a term to the left of the dot such as; google.com, domains.google, or wine.club.

How many SLDs are registered?

As of December 31, 2015 there were approximately 314 million second level domains registered. Of this total there are approximately 124 million .com domains and 144 million country codes.  In a very short period of time, new TLD second level domain registrations totaled approximately 16.5 million at March 31, 2016.

Is there a TLD expansion limit?

In theory, no. The DNS could theoretically expand to accommodate as many distinct TLDs as are requested. ICANN or other stakeholders may impose restrictions as they do today but technically there really is no limit on the potential.

What is a registrar?

A registrar is a business that is accredited by ICANN to sponsor registrant domain registrations. Registrars are required to follow a strict set of rules to operate including ensuring registrants adhere to the policies and procedures established by ICANN. Registrars sign a Registrar Agreement (RA) with ICANN and under conditions of breach can lose their accreditation.

What is a registry?

A registry is the entity that has the right to operate a TLD under the policies set out by ICANN. All registries must sign an agreement with ICANN and comply with all aspects of the agreement or risk losing the right to operate the registry. Examples of a registry are Verisign, the registry for the .com TLD, Neustar, the registry for the .us TLD, and CIRA, the registry for the .ca TLD.

What is the DNS?

The DNS is the acronym for the Domain Name System. At a high-level, the DNS is a massive distributed database used to translate names into IP addresses, and it allows machines to communicate with each other and transfer data across the Internet. The DNS is the very foundation of the Internet. Without the DNS, there is no Internet.

Why are domain portfolios so difficult to manage?

It starts with enterprise ownership, policies and procedures. They are often ill defined or at best inefficient. Consider approval processes, domain life cycle management and change management. Increasing domain management pains are the confusing registry policies, technical settings, provisioning complexities, security and cost considerations, renewal management, portfolio visibility challenges, and the lack of business intelligence. Then consider that digital teams are under constant pressure to execute with pace and agility. Change is constant. Now the expansion program is increasing this complexity by orders of magnitude. If your organization struggles with domain portfolio management, our technology is designed to solve these problems. Contact us at info@authenticweb.com or visit our solutions for corporate domain management.

Brand TLD Questions

What are brand TLDs?

Brand TLDs are domain extensions applied for by brands in which the owning brand holds complete exclusivity to register domains. Examples of brand TLDs are .google, .apple, .nike, .bmw, and .mcdonalds. To gain TLD exclusivity brands had to seek a specification 13 qualification from ICANN.

What other terms are used for brand TLDs?

“Brand TLD” is also known as a “Brand Registry” or a “dotBrand”.

What brands applied?

Hundreds of brands applied from various market segments. To see a list of delegated, active and pending brand TLDs click here.

Who can apply for a brand TLD?

To apply for a Brand TLD, the applying entity must hold a registered and active trademark on the string applied for. Additional requirements may emerge prior to the next round. For more information contact info@authenticweb.com.

Why adopt a brand TLD strategy?

The name space is expected to expand to many thousand more TLDs over the coming decade. Ensuring your brand secures its place is a strategic imperative. The reasons fall into two categories: 1. Defensive strategy and cost control, and 2. Opportunity for innovation and differentiation. If you need help thinking this through, contact us at info@authenticweb.com.

How do I acquire a brand TLD?

In order to acquire a brand TLD your organization must submit an application to ICANN during a specified time frame. Contact us at info@authenticweb.com to learn more about applying for a brand TLD.

How much does it cost to acquire a brand TLD?

In Round 1 ICANN charged applicants $185,000 USD to submit an application. Additional costs include consulting, legal services, as well as internal resource time to complete and manage the application. We anticipate the application fee will decrease in future rounds. For a complete description contact us at info@authenticweb.com.

What do I need to operate a brand TLD?

At the base level, brands need to contract with a back-end registry operator and a corporate domain registrar provider with new technology capabilities designed for the new TLD era, such as Authentic Web.  You may choose to outsource other services to ensure you maintain in compliance with your ICANN Registry Agreement.

How much does it cost to operate a brand TLD?

To run a brand TLD there is an annual $25,000 USD and per domain fees paid to ICANN. In addition, you will incur technology platform fees. Other costs may include; legal, consulting, policy and compliance fees, dependent upon the level of outsourcing. For a full description, contact us at info@authenticweb.com.

What is .Brand IQ?

(dot)Brand IQ is a strategic construct to help brand leaders identify their position in terms of education and readiness to deploy, operate and extract value from their brand TLD. Download the .Brand IQ eBook for more information.

New TLD Market Report

Read the New TLD whitepaper to gain a comprehensive understanding of ICANN’s new domain expansion program and its impact on your brand’s digital identity.

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dot Brand IQ eBook

Do you understand the new capabilities of a brand TLD? How do you map the capabilities against your objectives, and how does that knowledge translate to innovative use cases.

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Do you have other questions? Ask us here.

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