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Which top brands turned down their .co domains?

Kevin Murphy, July 9, 2010, 12:52:23 (UTC), Domain Registries

Playboy, Pepsi and Pizza Hut are among 17 of the world’s top 100 brands that did not use the .co sunrise period to register their trademarks as .co domain names.

This is effectively the first empirical data we have to judge the demand for a Globally Protected Marks List along the lines of that which ICANN was toying with for its new TLD program.

.CO Internet, the registry operator behind the newly liberalized Colombian top-level domain, chose to implement a Specially Protected Marks List as one of several IP-protection mechanisms.

The list, maintained by Deloitte, comprises the 100 trademarks thought to be the most valuable, and the most rigorously defended, on the internet.

All of these marks, which include some generic dictionary words, are classified as registry reserved and will be impossible to register unless you are the trademark owner.

Yet 83 of the companies on the list chose to register their names in the .co sunrise anyway.

This may show that famous brands are more interested in owning a name that resolves, rather than merely defensively registering in order to keep their marks out of the hands of cybersquatters.

I can only speculate as to why these 83 chose to participate in the sunrise.

Two obvious reasons are the need to establish a Colombian presence on the internet, and the desire to capture any typo traffic from people miskeying “.com”.

For both these reasons, the data is probably not a reliable indicator of how these companies would act during a generic TLD sunrise.

Of the 100 marks on the Deloitte list, these are the 17 that have so far chosen not to acquire their domains:

Accenture, Accor, Armani, Blackberry, BMW, Carrefour, Dell, Fedex, Ferrari, General Electric, Nivea, Pedigree, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Playboy, Prada, Reebok, Sanyo, SAP, Sheraton, Tiffany and Total.

Because these are registry-reserved names, there’s no danger of cybersquatters picking them up when .co goes to general availability in a little under 11 days.

UPDATE 2010-07-13: See the comment from .CO Internet below. It seems the SPM list is not as useful for brand holders as I had thought.

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Comments (11)

  1. Don’t discount the possibility that domain name administrators in large companies may have been told about the “sunrise” by their registrars and applied without bothering to learn about the protected marks list. It would not surprise me if many of them have never visited the .co site directly.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      That’s an excellent point Antony, thanks.

      But surely no registrar would be so devious… oh, wait.

      😉

  2. Thanks for the post about .CO – and for following the launch so closely!  I just wanted to clarify a few subtle points for your readers.  Out of the 100 brands granted special status by the Deloitte Brand List, 84 have registered their brands with .CO to date — either through the .CO Grandfathering Process (ie, because the brands already owned the .com.co domain) or through the Specially Protected Marks (SPM) Program. Since the program doesn’t officially end until next week, we are working under the assumption that many are still finalizing and submitting the required paperwork. While our goal is 100% participation by the close of the program, I think we would be quite content with anything north of 90%.

    To your point, it seems to us in general that famous brands are more interested in owning names that resolve, and not merely defensively registering in order to keep their marks out of the hands of cyber-squatters. The good news is, brand owners who secure their names through the SPM can both do so without the time, effort and expense of the Sunrise validation process — and have a domain name that resolves.

    One important last point.  Brands that do not claim their SPMs will not have the benefit of the domain names remaining on the Registry’s reserved list forever. Once the SPM program is over, each of the unclaimed brands will be given a grace period in which to secure their corresponding domain names. Once the grace period is complete, and all efforts to communicate with the brand owners have been exhausted, the domain names will be released back into the General Availability pool. We are doing our very best to communicate aggressively with brand owners, and to give them ample opportunities to secure their matching .CO domain names. However, the ultimate responsibility to secure the brand lies with the brand owner — and we strongly encourage all brand owners to ensure their brands are protected prior to the end of the Landrush.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Thanks a lot for that information Lori Anne.

      Your last point is especially interesting.

      Unless I’m missing something, it seems to render the SPM list quite a bit less useful to brand owners than I thought it was.

  3. By the way – I’m sorry I missed the chance to meet you at the ICANN meeting in Belgium! I guess it will be digital conversations until the next opportunity comes up – perhaps ICANN Cartagena?

  4. Hey Kevin,
    The SPM Program, as the .CO Registry has defined it, was really just a way to give certain brand owners the benefit of participating in the Sunrise validation process — without having to invest the time, expense and hassle that typically goes along with the process. The SPM admittedly does not go as far as the different versions of the proposed “GPML” that many in the industry have intensely debated in the past few years — mostly by design. We realized if we tried to go down the full GPML route, we too would have ended up debating and working through the details for another year plus. Instead, we opted to find a quick and simple way to give top brand owners some meaningful, measurable and immediate protections. As with most initiatives, there is definitely room for improvement. Your point is well taken and the feedback definitely appreciated!

  5. Joe Riley says:

    Goes deeper than this, they are blocking names like ‘cocaine.co’ ‘coca.co’ and ‘weed.co’ Those arent trade marks just vanity domains, come on now. I also couldn’t even get ‘tech.co’ – ALL reserved. .CO is worthless except for capitalizing on typo squats.

    Just the fact their registrar is censoring good domains of value makes .CO a poor TLD. I am not interested and not suprised they aren’t selling well, I see their advertising everywhere but in the domainer community people laugh about .CO.

  6. Joe Riley says:

    .CO is worthless tld all the columbians already grabbed the good ones like ‘shoes.co’ ‘coffee.co’ etc…

  7. […] Which top brands turned down their .co domains? […]

  8. […] Which top brands turned down their .co domains? […]

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