ICANN in a strop that Intel, Netflix, Lego, Nike and others aren't using their dot-brand domains

Like getting 47 'maybes' and a couple of 'yeses' on a Facebook party invite

Some of the world's biggest brands, including Intel, Nike, Target, Netflix, Lego, UPS and the NFL have been told to put their namesake dot-word domains live in the next three months or risk losing them altogether.

Domain name overseer ICANN has warned 200-plus companies in a blog post that there is a 12-month deadline from signing a contract to making sure their dot-brand is live on the internet. If they don't meet the deadline, ICANN has threatened to end the agreement.

When it was announced several years ago that ICANN was opening up the internet to any dot-word, hundreds of global brands paid the $185,000 application fee to protect their name online.

Many of those companies have been dragging their feet over running their own piece of the internet, however, because they're not sure what, if anything, they want to do with it.

Having pressured them into signing a contract to run their top-level domain last year, ICANN is now threatening to kill the contract if they don’t get it up and running.

Owning and running a piece of the internet is not an insignificant task. Even if a company does the absolute minimum required, it still needs to set up a DNS server infrastructure and a registry operation so domains can be created and allocated.

In reality, most companies will simply outsource those services to registry companies but that still comes at a significant initial cost as well as ongoing annual fees both to registry operators and to ICANN. Many have decided to simply do nothing.


Despite some determined and creative efforts by the domain name industry to encourage companies to embrace their dot-brands, there have still been no breakout uses of a corporate-branded top-level domain several years after they were introduced.

Although most companies are expected to heed the warning and eat the cost of making their dot-brand live, several have already decided to simply dump their name.

Most recently, Emerson informed ICANN it was walking away from .emerson. As did cement machinery company FLSmidth, and South Korean conglomerate Doosan. In expectation of more companies walking away, ICANN has created a special webpage to document such terminations.

Dozens of companies ditched their dot-words before they entered into contract negotiations and several hundred took ICANN up on the offer of a full refund when its registration system collapsed back in 2012.

As to actual uses of dot-brands, there are several albeit limited examples that are repeatedly referenced. Google's recent decision to put its registrar business at domains.google has caused the unusual situation of market competitors taking out ads to highlight the address in the hope of building greater awareness and credibility around new dot-words.

Other examples include:

  • Life to the fullest. abbott reflecting an ad campaign from drug company Abbott.
  • Home.Barclays: a general information page about the bank.
  • nic.fox: a well-designed site that promises greater things from the TV and movie studio later this year.

But also just as many dot-brand domains have been set up as a test for a specific event and then taken down, two examples being:

  • AssistMoneyPenny.Sony: set up to accompany the new Bond film.
  • AnnualReport.AXA: as it suggests, set up to hold the annual report from AXA but since taken down.

Companies that will have to decide whether to use or lose their dot-brands between now and August include: Aetna, AllState, BestBuy, Comcast, DHL, Dunlop, Dupont, Ericsson, HBO, HGTV, Intel, Lego, Mattel, Netflix, NFL, Nike, Pfizer, Prudential, QVC, Target, TJMaxx, UPS, Volvo, Zappos, Zippo and others. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Lunar rocks brought to Earth by China's Chang'e 5 show Moon's volcanoes were recently* active

    * Just a couple of billion years

    The Moon remained volcanically active much later than previously thought, judging from fragments of rocks dating back two billion years that were collected by China's Chang’e 5 spacecraft.

    The Middle Kingdom's space agency obtained about 1.72 kilograms (3.8 pounds) of lunar material from its probe that returned to Earth from the Moon in December. These samples gave scientists their first chance to get their hands on fresh Moon material in the 40 years since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 mission brought 170 grams (six ounces) of regolith to our home world in 1976.

    The 47 shards of basalt rocks retrieved by Chang'e 5 were estimated to be around two billion years old using radiometric dating techniques. The relatively young age means that the Moon was still volcanically active up to 900 million years later than previous estimates, according to a team of researchers led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

    Continue reading
  • Centre for Computing History apologises to customers for 'embarrassing' breach

    Website patched following phishing scam, no financial data exposed

    The Centre for Computing History (CCH) in Cambridge, England, has apologised for an "embarrassing" breach in its online customer datafile, though thankfully no payment card information was exposed.

    The museum for computers and video games said it was notified that a unique email address used to book tickets via its website "has subsequently received a phishing email that looked like it came from HSBC."

    "Our investigation has revealed that our online customer datafile has been compromised and the email addresses contained within are now in the hands of spammers," says the letter to visitors from Jason Fitzpatrick, CEO and trustee at CCH dated 19 October.

    Continue reading
  • Ancient with a dash of modern: We joined the Royal Navy to find there's little new in naval navigation

    Following the Fleet Navigating Officers' course

    Boatnotes II The art of not driving your warship into the coast or the seabed is a curious blend of the ancient and the very modern, as The Reg discovered while observing the Royal Navy's Fleet Navigating Officers' (FNO) course.

    Held aboard HMS Severn, "sea week" of the FNO course involves taking students fresh from classroom training and putting them on the bridge of a real live ship – and then watching them navigate through progressively harder real-life challenges.

    "It's about finding where the students' capacity limit is," FNO instructor Lieutenant Commander Mark Raeburn told The Register. Safety comes first: the Navy isn't interested in having navigators who can't keep up with the pressures and volume of information during pilotage close to shore – or near enemy minefields.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021