What will happen to the niche of existing brands and their cute marketing angles when ‘name fortification’ strangles their image positioning and market shares? As an example when new gTLD dot names like dot call, dot mobile, dot cell, dot phone, or dot voice or dot data may encircle a Telco’s market like sharks and create a new type of mass customer acquisition platform.

Normally, dictionary words are not trademarkable and never work well in branding, but as gTLD’s, some have the option to become great generic cyber brands and bring a new twist to global naming complexities. Like the name brand ‘xxx’ has no real value in traditional print media, used all over for different issues but as a newly approved domain name suffix it has become the hottest brand identifier of adult websites overnight. Is domain name expansion creating a parallel platform to the traditional trademark system, with new twists and angles?

Based on the current numbers of 1930 applicants just released from the first round of applications alone; there are hundreds of such implications for hundreds of various brands in various industries and service sectors all over the world. All this can be summed up as very dynamically aggressive and tumultuous times for global marketing and branding. The game of marketing and name branding has been pushed to a new stratosphere, where old systems simply no longer work.

As announced by ICANN, the 1000 entities from all over the world, now acting as game changers armed with 1930 filed applications, where each name application is anticipated to act like a name domination bazookas are setting up the stage for the launch. Along the journey the duplicated applications will have to be sorted out. The bidding, swapping and identical name auction wars…’Yuuup’…will start very soon.

In order to appreciate the complexity of the dictionary words applied as ‘generic’ dot names a
Name Evaluation Process was applied by ABC Namebank to the 542 English Dictionary-based Generic Names, like dot rice or dot chicken, the most volatile and contested section of the entire list of 1930 filed applications.

This individual name-by-name evaluation process involves 10 key steps. Such as assessing a name’s ease of use and recall based on its inherited alpha-structure, or its marketability, if the name emulates single or multiple messages. Longevity assesses if the name appears to have brandable values and also entices ownership by end users. Stretchability assesses if the name appears to have elasticity to arch into other markets. Registrability issues, although generic names are not trademark-able but some are even more diluted in varied terms causing communication difficulties. Such stringent analysis and reviews can predict the performance and longevity of a name.

The 542 Generic names were evaluated in each separate multi-layered processes and the findings are grouped indicating their name trajectory in the three key areas;

Safe Journey – 323 Names or 60% : Highly-Suitable Names; where the name appears capable of delivering a clear message associated with the purpose, easy to work with and posses stretchability into expanding markets.

Bumpy Roads – 49 Names or 9%: Moderately Suitable Names; where the name appears as only capable to deliver its objective to a limited market and may impose series of limitations.

Lost In the Jungle – 168 Names or 30%: Not-Suitable Names: this where the name appears to lack clarity and requires constant explanation to avoid confusion with other issues.

The results of any single generic gTLD name evaluations were not made public.

Not all proposed names will be successful, as always the case. Naming for success of any idea of any size, anywhere in the world has become a very intricate maneuver. Despite all the technical brilliance behind the Internet and communication archery behind the gTLDs, at the end of the day, a gTLD is a ‘name’. To the 2 billion end users and growing it’s simply a name, something worth remembering, typing, referring, chit-chatting or yelling. Any gTLD of any size, type or style anywhere in the world will only be struggling to climb the ‘tower of names’ will always hungry for visibility and therefore, always subjected to corporate nomenclature and rules of naming. Hence it’s the alpha-structure that will decide its trajectory under a required protection umbrella. As all names are not created equal, the winners and losers are found lined up in different queues.

The ICANN gTLD naming topic is already very complex and when aligned with marketing domination via name identity, it immediately creates fire. It’s also very naïve to see all this from a single vantage point of view and unless one forms circles of highly qualified and multidisciplinary teams with passion and empathy, the topic will become stuck in rhetoric and the entanglements of half knowledge.

The bottom line, the domain name expansion is unstoppable, the global hunger for brand name visibility is irresistible and the clash of the two is now inevitable. We are at a serious crossroads and must discover the ‘tower of names’ along with the global naming complexities while peeking at the upper stratosphere of super name identities. The right generic-name gTLDs are poised to do very well.

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