Fashion, Technology & The Internet, Part II: Domains To Consider

The second lecture at the Cowan, Leibowitz & Latman Seminar was presented by Eric J. Shimanoff and got into detail on the latest opportunities with gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains) and SLDs (Second Level Domains.)

 Mr. Eric L. Shimanoff giving his presentation on gTLD and SLD updates and best practices

Mr. Eric L. Shimanoff giving his presentation on gTLD and SLD updates and best practices

In case you're not familiar, a gTLD is like .com, .net, .org, .gov, .ch etc., and these extensions haven't evolved much over the past 10 years as all of the countries & governments claimed them early on. Everyone figured out pretty quickly that despite the fearmongering sales pitches warning you to buy every iteration for your business, the gold standard would remain .com and companies had to either make up names like Google in order to have a short URL, or resort to longer URLs in order to claim a domain. ICANN was established in the late 1990's to monitor usage, prevent abuse and establish guidelines for who could use gTLDs outside of the "general purpose" LTDs (.com, .net., .org.)

An SLD refers to what comes before the dot - i.e. bambolinanyc - that one is easy!

In 2012 ICANN opened up a new system for introducing gTLDs in January 2012, and there were nearly 2,000 applications. These include high profile brands looking to own .coach, .hermes, .gap and so on, as well as industry groups interested in claiming extensions like .jewelry, .fashion, .diamonds, among many others. The approved new gTLDs are set to be announced sometime in 2013. However, don't go thinking you missed out on your own gTLD - the cost to apply is a whipping $185K, with a hefty $25K annual fee!

It remains to be seen if it will be worthwhile investing in, say, bambolinanyc.jewelry. However, if you want to hedge your bets and reserve it as well as iterations like bambolina.jewelry to avoid it potentially being taken hostage by a new crop of opportunists, now would be the time. The best way to do this is to register your brand with the Trademark Clearinghouse, a central repository for owners of trademark registrations. Registration costs $250 (not including legal fees if this is done through your attorney, of course) and enables you to be notified if anyone tries to register a name that you've trademarked. 

If you want to protect your brand against cybersquatters, for the present or looking towards the future, Mr. Shimanoff recommends looking into the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) or the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS)  - both services provide recourse (at a cost) for infringement issues.