Hewlett-Packard and Proctor & Gamble have ruled themselves out of applying to ICANN for .brand top-level domains, or so they claim.
Bloomberg yesterday reported a distinct lack of enthusiasm for new gTLDs from many large brands, leading with quotes from P&G and HP:
P&G, the world’s largest consumer products company with more than 50 brands including Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Crest toothpaste, won’t apply for new suffixes, said Paul Fox, a spokesman. HP, the biggest computer maker, considers the program costly and has no plans to take part, said Gary Elliott, vice president of global marketing.
“A lot of companies are looking at the same math as we are and saying, ‘Let’s stop this proposal from happening,’” Elliott said in an interview. “There’s a tremendous amount of confusion about what this means and what the costs are.”
HP’s Elliot is chairman of the Association of National Advertisers, the most vocal opponent of the new gTLD program, as the Bloomberg report notes.
One fact the report doesn’t mention – and I’d bet Elliot didn’t volunteer – is that HP and P&G cannot apply for .hp or .pg due to ICANN’s strict three-character minimum for new gTLD strings.
HP had campaigned for ICANN to scrap the two-character prohibition for a number of years, though it usually also noted that in principle it was opposed to the program.
Nevertheless, it strikes me as disingenuous for the company to say it’s decided against a .brand on the basis of cost, when ICANN essentially made its decision for it years ago.
P&G, which mostly makes cosmetics and toiletries, has also ruled out applying for gTLDs to represent any of its 50 or so well-known brands, Bloomberg reported.
The internet will have to go without .tampax and .pampers for the foreseeable future.
General Motors, Wal-Mart, Adobe, Porsche, Vodafone and Puma are all generally negative on the program but are still evaluating their options, according to Bloomberg.
It’s quite possible that these outfits are just as opposed to the new gTLD program as HP and P&G.
But if they’ve been talking to consultants, they will also have been advised not to publicly talk about their applications. Nothing can be gained by going public before April 12.