As internet usage has increased, finding a domain name with the extension .com that is not already in use has become increasingly difficult.

Many well-known companies face difficulties when trying to buy a domain name for their brand. For example, Nissan spent almost 20 years trying to gain possession of Nissan.com, which was owned by someone called Uzi Nissan. Apple found themselves in a similar situation for almost 16 years, with apple.co.uk held by a British company called Apple Illustrations.

Some brands have been able to recover domain names by paying various amounts of money or by entering into beneficial partnerships. Take Uber, for example, which agreed to sell 2 per cent of its shares to Universal Music in exchange for uber.com. Other brands have chosen less friendly methods, including court action; however this involves several risks and – should the case be lost - may result in bigger losses than a more friendly ‘agreement’.

What is the future .com 

Considering all the challenges in the past few years regarding the availability of the domain name .com, many companies have started to invest in branded domains that refer to the company’s field of activity.

In 2014, ICANN, an international institution which manages domain name, has introduced a series of new extensions that allow companies to choose other solutions in online communication beyond the classic .com. For example, extensions such as .club or .link have had considerable success compared to others such as .bible or .rodeo which are yet to receive any registration requests.

For new extensions which directly refer to a certain brand name, over 600 brands spent a total of almost 100 million dollars. In present, Nike owns .nike, BMW, .bmw and McDonald’s owns .mcdonalds.

The recently released .health extension is available for brands, companies or individuals that either sell products or offer services in the health domain. Companies using this extension are able to be indexed more easily by search engines and will appear as a priority in searches that are not immediately related to the medical domain. Hence, branded domain names are, in reality, a solution for brands that would like to make a difference otherwise, rather than using traditional PR of advertising.

 

The numbers behind the domains

Top 10 most used domain names, according to statdns.com

Name

Number

.com

127,444,748

.net

14,938,219

.org

10,402,148

.info

5,845,132

.us

2,532,519

.biz

2,061,076

.se

1,521,345

.mobi

557,174

.nu

337,690

.pro

256,372

 

Top 10 countries ranking by number of registered domains, according to https://www.domainstatistics.online/ (updated statistics until February 2016)

Country

Number of updated domains

US

133,509,635

China

17,060,703

Germany

10,813,417

Canada

9,193,326

India

5,634,486

Japan

3,937,069

Australia

3,408,561

France

3,201,747

UK

2,880,463

Denmark

1,599,337

 

EACD member Diana Șerban is the communications and marketing director of Cosmovici Intellectual Property in Switzerland, managing their external communication especially for France, Germany, England and Romania. She specialises in issues relating to corporate social responsibility and integrated communication strategy for Western Europe and corporate social responsibility. For more insights from Diana, see her LinkedIn page.