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As dot London launches, how have online brand protection strategies been affected by the new gTLD revolution?

07/05/2014
ICANN's new gTLD program is now well under way, and registrations are being accepted for domains in TLDs as diverse as .kitchen, .bargains and .ninja. .london launched on 29 April hot on the heels of ICANN's new gTLD program is now well under way, and registrations are being accepted for domains in TLDs as diverse as .kitchen, .bargains and .ninja. .london launched on 29 April hot on the heels of a number of other city domains such as .tokyo and .berlin. But what has been the impact of these new gTLDs, and what (if anything) do you need to do about them?

According to Easyspace, as at 25 March 2014 .guru was the most popular of the new gTLDs with almost 46,000 .guru domains registered. At the other end of the spectrum, however, Domain Name Wire recently reported that only 22 domain names had been registered in .rich. .london is predicted to be a popular TLD, not least because of the success of .berlin, but in reality it is hard to know what the take-up of different TLDs will be. That leaves brand owners in a difficult position when considering how to protect their brands, in particular in setting a defensive registration strategy.

The principle behind defensive registrations is simple: it is cheaper to pro-actively register yourbrand.london than it would be to recover it from a cybersquatter. When there were just a handful of gTLDs that argument made some sense. But times have changed. In addition to the 20 or so original gTLDs and almost 300 country-specific ccTLDs, there will soon be as many as 1,400 new gTLDs, and that doesn't even take into account second level domains or sub-domains. Defensively registering all possible combinations of your brand is a daunting – and expensive – prospect. That's even before you consider the escalated costs of registering in sunrise periods or protecting variants or misspellings of your name. What is more, the new streamlined domain dispute resolution procedure – Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) – now offers a cheaper method of addressing domain names that are picked up by cybersquatters.

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