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Companies that can’t apply for .brand gTLDs say they have decided not to apply for .brand gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, November 8, 2011, 12:56:43 (UTC), Domain Policy

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.

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Comments (3)

  1. Francesco says:

    Meh… P&G is big enough to buy the entire Papua New Guinea and get its .PG in the process anyway 😉

  2. gpmgroup says:

    Given how incredibly successful the existing system is one would have hoped ICANN would have been a little more sensible in their approach to “Improving” the DNS.
    I can’t see how’s it in the public interest for ICANN to even offer to award some of the most economically advantaged companies an implicit DNS branding advantage simply by contracting with ICANN.
    Proctor and Gamble with over 80 brands will need to spend over $15,000,000 if they wish to apply for all their brands as new gTLDs and pay ICANN a further $2,000,000 every year going forward compared with the existing system cost of $800 p.a.
    Medium sized players will have to consider whether it’s worth spending $185,000 + $25,000 per year with ICANN to enjoy the same level of implicit DNS branding and enter ICANN’s .brand super league. For start ups and smaller players the cost of admission to this implicit DNS branding advantage is likely to prove prohibitive.
    The level playing field of the Internet will be destroyed.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    I’m not sure what companies like those two could gain from having .hp or .pg anyways. That said, I think any company that doesn’t believe an extension would be useful to them would be opposed to the new TLDs. They don’t need competition possibly getting a leg up or for press to otherwise shift away from them.

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