Your step-by-step guide to acquiring a gTLD

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The post-game
It may seem like launching your new gTLD and locking down your brand in other gTLDs is the finish line, and once you've crossed it, you're done (and that you've earned a serious vacation on some tropical beach somewhere). But the truth is, the responsibilities do not end after your gTLD enters the root and you begin using your new domain names.

For one, you have to maintain registry functions. This includes ensuring that domain names resolve and that email addresses work, among other things. For most brand owners, this will be something you rely on your registry partner to handle, and for closed registries, this will not be a huge undertaking. Basically, once you get through the initial set up, you can sit back and let it run. For open registry operators, though, this will require a good deal of foresight. You will also have to maintain an accurate and up-to-date WHOIS database for your gTLD (again, this will be a simpler task for closed corporate registries than open ones, and another task your registry partner will handle).

As a newly minted gTLD registry, you will also have to maintain an ongoing relationship with ICANN. At the most basic level, this entails submitting regular reports on the technical functions of your registry. But you will also become a member of the gTLD registries constituency within ICANN's policy-making body. If you had the desire and the resources, you could take advantage of this new insider role to advocate for new policies that benefit your business.

Of course, now that you have acquired a new gTLD, it is also time to put all your plans for using it to work. Now you have the chance to really begin extracting value from the gTLD in terms of marketing, consumer engagement, and possibly even search engine rankings.

It should be clear that pursuing a new gTLD is no small task for brand owners, and it is not something you should jump into too quickly. But with proper preparation and the right partners, it can be worth it to help boost your brand's digital presence, either by establishing leadership or keeping up with the "digital Joneses."

Josh Bourne is managing partner of FairWinds Partners.

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