.brand domains: to be or not to be?

Reading Time | 3 Minutes

In 2010, a growing list of well-known brands began to speculate on the future of the internet and its hopeful acceptance of new domain extensions.

While .com and other legacy domain extensions have long been accepted, many of the brands couldn’t turn a blind eye to the possibility of .brand domains becoming the next big thing to hit the tech world since the internet itself.

Fast forward almost a decade later, and many of the same brands — McDonalds, Autodesk, Inc., The Boots Company, PamperedChef and The Guardian, to name a few — that fought tooth and nail to secure their “right” to own their respective .brand domain extension have decided to go a different direction and terminate this once thought to be lucrative investment.

For each brand that has cut its losses in owning a .brand top-level domain name, whether only for the sake of defensive registration or actual usage, there are brands — Sony, Philips, Abbott — progressing with plans to forever cement their .brand extension into the minds of their customers, suppliers, and competition.

One brand on quest I most recently stumbled upon is Canon. Canon is a Japan-based multinational corporation specializing in the manufacturing of imaging and optical products — cameras, camcorders, photocopiers, steppers, computer printers and medical equipment.

Canon courageously embarked upon and embraced the use of its own .brand domain extension as its primary digital presence over the matching .com.

This tiny, yet critical detail slipped my mind until a non-tech savvy friend requested assistance installing their recently purchased Canon printer.

As I perused the instructions preparing to install and configure the printer, I soon discovered the setup was online when directed to access the canon website from a computer using the following web url: http://ij.start.canon.

Canon's Help Support Website - .canon brand domain

Of course, I opened a web browser to discover typing canon.com redirects to global.canon.

At first, I believed the .canon web address to be a secondary or non-primary url used by Canon for software and driver services, download, and support.

However, I soon discovered ALL of Canon’s digital presence uses the .canon web address.

Canon is certainly a forward thinking company to have made such a leap from .com to a .brand address.

The one reason I like the use of a .brand address is when the company can also own the matching .com.

If the matching .com is not available, then I’m highly hesitant to suggest using a .brand address.

After all, the average internet user has come to understand and associate .com to be the equivalent meaning of the internet.

And for this reason, I believe many of the early adopting brands of .brand domains chose to no longer renew their .brand investment.

Could brands reconsider in the future? Possibly, but who truly knows what twists, turns and changes are likely to occur in the coming years as the internet of tomorrow soon replaces the internet of today?

No matter what happens, I believe it safe to always own the matching .com when deciding to use a non .com web address to represent a digital presence.

I want to hear from you. What’s your stance and belief on companies investing and developing their respective .brand address(es)?

Alvin Brown
Alvin is a serial entrepreneur and digital strategist with an avid love for domain name consulting. As the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of DNAdverts.com, his assignment is to ensure business and personal brands don't suffer the consequences of common domain name pitfalls.

As a domain investor and business consultant, Alvin actively participates in daily domain auctions. Outside of auctions, he passionately shares his views, opinions, and vision for how businesses should and should not use domain names to generate greater customer growth and revenue.