The flood of negative comments to ICANN yesterday almost obscured the fact that a few companies have hinted that they will apply for their own “.brand” top-level domains.
As Antony Van Couvering first noted on the Minds + Machines blog, IBM’s comment on version four of the Draft Applicant Guidebook makes it pretty clear the idea of a .ibm is under consideration.
IBM’s filing raises concerns about the issues of sunrise periods and vertical integration, with particular reference as to whether .brand owners would be exempt from such things.
This suggests IBM is thinking about its own .brand.
If we make the (admittedly cheeky but probably realistic) assumption that the large majority of comments filed with ICANN are self-serving, we can infer that anyone taking in an interest in the nuts and bolts of running a new TLD has probably considered applying for one.
Microsoft, while generally opposed to a large-scale new TLD launch, is very concerned about parts of the DAG that would allow ICANN to transfer a .brand delegation to a third party if the original registry were to shut down for whatever reason.
In other words, if Microsoft one day decided that running “.windows” was a waste of time and decided to shut it down, could ICANN appoint Apple to take it over?
I suggest that this is something that you only really worry about if you’re thinking about applying for a .brand TLD.
The American Red Cross comment contains references to a hypothetical scenario where it applies for its own TLD throughout.
It’s especially concerned that its administrative overheads would increase due to the high ICANN application fees, eating into the money it can spend on worthier causes.
To date, Canon is the only company I’m aware of to publicly state it will apply for a .brand.