Slowly but surely, the way people navigate websites may be changing. We’re used to typing in a URL we’re familiar with and then clicking through the site to navigate to where we want to go. Or we might hop on our favorite social network and search for a particular business or individual to follow along with their feed. But with the rising popularity of .BRAND domains, this practice may eventually fade away in favor of a more streamlined website navigation experience.
.BRAND domains are trademark-protected New Domains, which were first given the go-ahead by ICANN back in 2013. Keep in mind that these domains don’t actually end in the word “brand”—the term .BRAND is just used as a placeholder for a company name. For example, Google owns .ANDROID and Lamborghini owns .LAMBORGHINI.
Applications for these specifically branded domain extensions flooded in, and of the 594 initial applicants, 260 .BRAND domains have already been registered. As of December 2015, there were 75 “active” .BRAND domains, which were defined as .BRAND domain extensions with five or more registrations. While this may not sound like a lot right now, the pace of adoption is picking up rapidly—between October and December 2015 alone, there was a 42% increase in the number of active .BRAND domains on the web.
Now, with big-name brands including Audi, Sony, Samsung, Grainger, Symentec, and more owning and using .BRAND domains, the way we seek information on websites could change significantly. Rumors that Apple may employ this strategy in the future paints an interesting picture of what this change could look like: typing ipad.apple into a browser could take you straight to their iPad section while the URL imovie.apple could take you to the iMovie landing page.
Companies in the digital and financial industries currently have the most .BRAND domain names, accounting for just under half of all active .BRANDs. Although ICANN is not accepting new .BRAND applications right now (and with no plans to do so in the immediate future), these early adaptors of brand-specific domain extensions could pave the way for future registrations of brand-specific domains.
Missed out on registering a branded domain extension? No worries. There’s still plenty of New Domains out there that can meet your website needs.