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ICANN has $750k to advertise new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, July 6, 2011, 09:19:00 (UTC), Domain Registries

Don’t all rush at once.

ICANN is looking for an advertising agency to help it get the word out about the new generic top-level domains program, but it only has $750,000 to spend.

The organization published a request for proposals last night.

The budget is not much in the advertising world, especially considering that ICANN’s awareness program will have to be global and multilingual to be truly effective.

With such a limited budget, the RFP and accompanying FAQ acknowledges that it will need “creative solutions” from its ad agency.

This is likely to mean a big PR push for advertising equivalent editorial – lots and lots of news stories about new gTLDs.

To an extent, the word is already out by this measure. My standing Google News and Twitter searches for “ICANN” have been going crazy since the gTLD program was approved two weeks ago.

I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority deal of the coverage so far has been either neutral or negative, with much of the focus on potential legal, branding and security problems.

That’s pretty much par for the course in the domain name business, of course.

And ICANN does not necessarily need positive spin – it’s trying to raise awareness of the program’s existence, and negative coverage does that job just as well.

There is, as they say, no such thing as bad publicity.

ICANN’s job of promoting the program is already being done to a large extent by the registries, many of which were investing heavily in media outreach before new gTLDs were approved.

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Comments (3)

  1. Well said Kevin!

    All the major media have picked up on this plus all the interested registries as well as community applicants are performing their outreach as well.

    Advertising is not to be trusted because it is always biased, so it is not as effective as media press. Media press is more trusted since it is the opinion of the journalist. If ICANN needs to do something it is to focus more on targeting major media journalists, not their publication’s advertising departments.

    Constantine
    .MUSIC / MyTLD.com

  2. M says:

    so…journalists and media are not biased…hmm…ever watch Fox News?

  3. John Berard says:

    Setting aside the credibility hit the media have taken in recent years (News of the World and the Washington Post just this week), Constantine is right to favor reporting over advertising.

    A bigger problem is the message. At whom is the marketing program aimed? Should ICANN be boosting the number of applicants or making we rank-and-file Internet users more aware of how our lives can/will be affected?

    It may be a false choice.

    It will be hard for a global program to be effective at a funding level of $750,000. Such a thin budget almost begs support from sectors of the community already built to benefit from new gTLDs.

    Ultimately, we run the risk of winding up again talking more to ourselves about ourselves.

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