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.cancerresearch — a role model for dot-brands?

Kevin Murphy, February 4, 2015, 00:47:36 (UTC), Domain Registries

.cancerresearch went live today with an interesting, and possibly unique to date, take on the new gTLD concept.

It’s technically not a dot-brand under ICANN rules, but there are no firm plans to start selling registrations to third parties yet and the people running it are pointing to it as a possible model from which dot-brands could draw inspiration.

The registry, the charitable Australian Cancer Research Foundation, is working heavily with back-end provider ARI Registry Services and has recruited the ad agency M&C Saatchi for the promotion.

It’s reserved about 80 .cancerresearch domain names for its own “promotional purposes” — permissible under ICANN rules — and gone live today with a handful of web sites designed to raise awareness about and funds for cancer research.

I say it looks possibly unique because, despite the multiple domains in play, it basically looks and feels like one web site.

Start at home.cancerresearch, click a link entitled “Donate” and you’ll be taken to donate.cancerrresearch. Click a link about lung cancer, you’ll go to lung.cancerresearch. There’s another link to theone.cancerresearch, soliciting donations.

Unless you’re looking at the address bar in your browser, you’d be forgiven for assuming you’re on the same web site. The sites on the different domains are using the same style, same imagery, and are obviously part of the same campaign.

That’s not particularly innovative, of course. Redirecting users to other domains within the same web site experience happens all the time. But I don’t think I’ve seen it done before with a new gTLD. Navigation-wise, it seems to have a degree of novelty.

Tony Kirsch, head of global consulting at ARI, said that what the ACRF is doing could “help give dot-brand holders struggling with a wait-and-see approach a real example of what can be done”.

.cancerresearch isn’t a dot-brand under ICANN’s strict Specification 13 rules, however. It’s more like an unofficial ‘closed generic’ at this point.

The gTLD is launching today — with mainstream media coverage — without a confirmed Sunrise date. Right now, nobody apart from the registry can own a domain there.

And while Kirsch told DI that .cancerresearch will be available to third parties, he also said that there will be strict eligibility requirements. Those requirements are still “TBD”, however.

There are also no accredited registrars for the gTLD at this point, he confirmed.

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Comments (6)

  1. KC says:

    I’m sorry. I fail to see what benefits we can get from using multiple domain names in a website. Can you enlighten me?

  2. Defintely different, but like KC, this seems like a step backward. They could have developed one site and put the new TLD application money toward research.

    • Tony Kirsch says:

      Thanks for the comments, however the reason behind the strategy from our perspective is really important and I’m more than happy to share it.

      Having worked with Digital Marketers for years, they are always frustrated with the limited ability of ‘subdomains’ to actually connect with customers via advertising.

      From a recall perspective, compare the intuitive nature of ipad.apple as a domain name vs. apple.com/ipad – just as a very simple example.

      Yes, the TLD could have indeed launched with sub domains off the primary domain such as;

      home.cancerresearch/lung
      home.cancerrsearch/donate

      However, from a marketing perspective we’re very comfortable that our approach to domains (i.e. home.cancerresearch) is simple for end users to identify with, and with that hope that it will increase both recall and direct type traffic (rather than search for example).

      Additionally, the structure is designed to be as end user focused as possible. Something we’re really focused on in regards to the new TLD consulting we provide.

      If a user wants to find general information or visit the home page in order to navigate themselves – they are able to visit home.cancerresearch and take the journey themselves. However, some people (for example) may be seeking information specifically on breast cancer – and we have an ability for them to find this content (via search or direct type at the domain name breast.cancerresearch).

      Ultimately, this is what new TLDs are all about from a marketing perspective. Providing new and innovative ways to engage the audience.

      Feel free to have a read of my blog on the topic for more insight into the topic.

      http://www.ariservices.com/blog/cancerresearch-can-a-new-tld-beat-a-global-disease/

      • Tony, but the alternatives are not:

        home.cancerresearch/lung

        They are

        lung.cancerresearch.org or .com
        donate.cancerresearch.org

        So all you’ve done is drop a few letters off the end. I question if that justifies the cost.

  3. Should I donate money to UCSF, Mayo Clinic, CancerResearch.org.au, or Best.Cancerresearch?

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