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Time is running out for retailers who want own top-level domain name

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Retailers now have only 51 days to apply for their own dot brand domain name.

Changes introduced by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, means that businesses of all types can now apply for their own top-level domain name (gTLD). That means that instead of having a website address ending in or .com, they can have .tesco, for example, or .johnlewis.

But retailers only have until April 12 to put forward their bid in the first round of applications.

Jonathan Robinson, non-executive director at global registry service Afilias says he believes it’s important brands at least consider whether they would like to opt for a top-level domain name before the window closes. For, he says, while there will be future rounds in which brands can apply, no date has yet been set.

“A brand owner with any significant value,” he said, “who’s got a strong presence on the internet needs to be aware of the opportunity and to have decided to participate or not to participate. The worst outcome would be waking up too late and saying that passed us by and we didn’t realise what the opportunity was.”

He says the chief reasons for a brand to do so are to do with name recognition, the likely positive effect such a brand name would have on search, and inspiring consumer trust and loyalty. “It’s about being distinctive and findable, being where you are. It’s about being seen to be at the leading edge,” said Robinson.

But to take such a step will not be cheap. The fee for simply making the application is $185,000 (£116,874) and professional and technical support in answering the 50 questions on the form, of which 22 are highly technical, is likely to take the total cost to around $400,000 or $500,000 estimates Afilias, which supports 60 per cent of all new TLD registrations on the Internet todaY.

Applications must be in by April 12 and on about May 1 ICANN will publish a list of all the gTLDs that have been applied for.

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