DotBrand opens in UAE
Company to help regional corporations to register for top-level domains such as .nike, .apple
Global registration for top-level domain (TLD) names such as .apple or .nike, through domain administrator ICANN will be open between January and April 2012 and a new company has launched in the UAE to help companies in the region to gain their own TLDs.
UAE-based DotBrands MENA,a company specialising in applying for top-level domain names, has launched in the UAE to help regional corporations register for their own top-level domain name.
DotBrand works in collaboration with brand name registration company CentralNIC and a consortium of Middle East businessmen including UAE-based Nabil Alyousuf.
Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNIC and CEO of DotBrand Solutions said that the advantage of having a TLD for a corporation is that is unifies all of the company's internet domains under one single TLD, allowing companies to have complete control of their internet environment.
"If for example, AXA insurance hires an agent here in Dubai, and the agent gets AXADubai.ae as a domain, if AXA then has a falling out with that agent and the agent starts working for a competitor, that agent still owns AXADubai.ae as the domain name, and can take all the traffic from he domain name and redirect it to their new site. That happens a lot. If AXA had their own domain and had .axa, they would give the agent dubai.axa and then if they had a falling out, could redirect all the traffic back to themselves and give it to someone else. They would not have to have notice periods or take the guy to court," said Crawford.
A company-specific TLD strengthens brand identity and makes it easier for clients to discern real websites from spam, phishing or fake sites. The company specific TLD also means that the company will show up at the top of search results, and will be the genuine site, instead of the current situation where hundreds of sites, some of them malicious show up when users conduct a search.
Domain names are not guaranteed and the application process is complex. Companies must first submit an application, which can be done through DotBrand.
Crawford estimates that this application form will be over 200 pages long and companies must disclose information such as finances, outline the company's business plan and a contain a full policy document that is creative enough not to restrict future business.
All members of the corporation applying for the top-level domain name must also not have any form of criminal record.
"To put together the application, the number we tell companies to put in the budget is $200,000, to write the application or tender document which has business plans, policies, the technical specifications and so on. It is a 200-page document," said Crawford.
Once the application document is finalised, companies must pay ICANN $180,000 to submit the application and have it audited by them.
If the application is approved, ICANN then publishes the intention to register the top-level domain and allow a time-period for people to object to the registration.
If anyone contests the TLD, arbitration and contestation then can cost the company up to $120,000.
If everything is agreed, the company then signs a contract with ICANN and can begin to set up its TLD. Crawford estimates that set-up costs can reach $100,000 and once the TLD is running can cost up to $80,000 per year to maintain, if there are a couple of thousand web-domains running on the TLD, or it will cost more if there are tens of thousands of web-domains running.
If there is an unsolvable dispute between companies over the same TLD, the domain name will go up for auction, although Crawford said he does not foresee this happening too much.
DotBrand estimates that there are between 300 and 3,000 companies globally currently interested in applying for a TLD.
The smallest company that has so far registered with CentralNIC is a company with revenues of $10m a year.