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Your Guide to Brand Top-Level Domains

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For marketers, the domain name system (DNS) can be a little tricky to navigate.

If you’ve ever been tasked with buying a domain name, you’ve probably heard of terms like hyper text transfer protocol, subdomains, top-level domains, and more. Now, whether or not you remember the function of each part is an entirely different story …

So before we dive into anything technical, let’s start with a quick deconstruction.

Example. http://www.DreamBuildSuccess.com

This address is made up of three main parts: before, between, and after the dot. Before the dot, you’ll find the subdomain (www). Between the two dots, you’ll find the domain name (DreamBuildSuccess) But what we’re going to dive into below concerns the text that comes after the dot: the top-level domain (TLD).

Back in the 1980s, the internet was introduced to a handful of generic TLDs: .com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov, .int, and .mil. Since then, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has expanded the domain name system, and introduced a new wave of TLDs known as Brand TLDs.

What’s a Brand TLD? Who has one? And how are they using them? Keep reading.

What Are Brand TLDs?
A Brand TLD is like any other TLD (think: .com, .org, or .net), but instead of a generic term, it is the brand’s trademark (think: .bmw, .apple, or .google).

A Brand TLD is proprietary, meaning only the brand can register second level domains such as drive.bmw, mac.apple, or search.google.

In terms of security and innovation opportunities, there are many considerations. It starts with understanding that the DNS is the very foundation of the internet. Without the DNS there is no Internet. Everything runs on the DNS. Owning a proprietary space at the root of the DNS offers opportunities for innovation, security, trust, and control that are entirely new. Never before have brands been able to own a proprietary slice of the Internet at the root level.

In terms of SEO, “early use cases indicate no negative search impact, and even potential benefits,” according to Neustar. “New TLD holders should (as now) focus on building highly relevant content on their .brand and .generic to earn search visibility,” they went on to explain.

However, it’s important that marketers that are considering a switch continue to monitor the impact that these new TLDs have on the brands currently employing them, as it’s too soon to determine the long-term effects.

Why Now?
ICANN is the governing body that sets rules for the internet. In 2008, ICANN approved a program to radically expand the domain name space with the introduction of new TLDs. In 2011, ICANN began accepting new TLD applications from entities across the globe. Any entity could apply to own and operate a new TLD, however, the application fee was a steep $185K.

In 2012, ICANN announced they received 1,930 new TLD applications of which approximately 1,400 were unique, separated into five categories: Generic, Geographic, Community, Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), and Brand. Just over 600 brands applied in Round 1. (You can check out the complete list of brands here.)

What does the program status look like today?

By February 2014, new TLDs began to rollout. As of May 1, 2016, there were 17.2 million new domain names registered across 978 delegated new TLDs. In comparison, this represents approximately 13.5% of the entire .com population (around 125 million), which took 30 years to reach.

As of December 2015, there were a total of 314 million domains registered. As 2016 progresses, we expect to see the remaining 300 to 350 new TLDs delegated to the internet. In fact, ICANN just recently announced the program’s 1,000th delegation, stating that there are nearly 50 times as many generic TLDs now as there were in 2013. It’s expected that the pace of change will accelerate as public awareness and usage grows.

ICANN has committed to future rounds to allow brands and other entities to apply for additional new TLDs. Industry insiders expect Round 2 to be heavily participated by Geographic and Brand TLD applications.

Why Many Big Brands Are Making the Move
According to Neustar’s FAQs of New TLDs list, “new Brand TLDs offer a unique and significant opportunity to drive brand affinity, build trust, enhance security, and engage customers.” And that’s largely why we are starting to witness leading brands deploying initial use cases.

Business leaders are engaging and beginning to understand the new Brand TLD capabilities that can improve business performance. To help illustrate these benefits, let’s take a look at a couple of key selling points:

1) Cost Benefit

Naysayers about these new TLDs complain that applying for and operating a Brand TLD will add significant cost burden to the business, and offers little benefit. And they’re partially right: the initial investment is up there. However, it’s important to consider what it means for the future of brand digital identity management.

For this reason, you should quickly unpack the relative value of a Brand TLD compared to current domain market conditions and status quo domain portfolio practices.

What are domain names worth?

Due to scarcity and the power of language, one word domains can be valued in the millions of dollars. On Wikipedia’s list of most expensive domains, you will find market values ranging from $35 million for insurance.com to $3 million for loans.com.

One-word domains — also referred to in the industry as “category killers” — are extremely valuable. Why? Because they are short, memorable, and mean something to audiences.

Now compare that to the cost to acquire and operate a Brand TLD priced at a few hundred thousand dollars and offering an unlimited number of one-word branded properties that are authentic and trusted. The comparative cost vs. benefit to acquire and operate a Brand TLD is nominal.

What does it cost to protect a brand?

It’s not uncommon for a brand to hold multiple domains for defensive purposes. However, doing so results in significant costs — including registrar outside counsel and internal administrative costs. Layer on legal fees to monitor, file, and administer rights protection such as UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) to recover infringing domain names, and the cost of brand protection is massive.

Then, consider the efficacy of defensive domain activity spend today — and in the future with thousands of TLDs to guard your brand against. It becomes unsustainable from a cost and efficacy point of view.

Brands who own a Brand TLD will educate audiences to trust websites using their Brand TLD. As this education permeates the market, the active use of a Brand TLDs will begin to reduce the expenditure required to protect your brand.

Inspired,

LaShanda Gary

SURVEY (1 Question)

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Hi there CEOs!!

It’s Spring, March and the first quarter of 2017 is almost here… Just. That. Fast!!

And, just like all good businesses, we are making a few changes to better serve you.

Most of you signed up to receive business and event news from Dream Build Success or you visited one of our online or live events.

Many of you know that we recently launched the 2017 Success Conference with less than 90 days left to register in Houston, focusing on business strategy, business branding and your business funds, we also have a rollout of 8 products/planning tools coming in this next quarter. We also have some pretty engaging live events coming up in Houston, multiple cities in the US the rest of the year.

In an effort to make sure we offer the best service possible-we are updating and making some changes to our Dream Build Success Offerings. Can you please help us out by telling me all that you’d like to learn about from us.

Here’s the survey-it only has 1 Question AND I’m giving you a lil something for taking the time.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to do this short 1 question survey for me. And just to make it a little sweeter- I’m giving a discount code to ALL who take the survey- so make sure to add your email address at the end. Thanks again CEOs and Happy Spring!!

Lashanda

 

 

THE “NO FAIL” SALES PROCESS

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Building a repeatable, scalable sales process is tough. There’s no shortage of diagrams, methodologies, or experts with opinions on exactly how you should be doing things. So where should you start? Right here. We’ve pulled together an introduction to all things “sales process” to help you get started down the road toward defining what your company’s ideal sales process should look like.

What is a sales process?
“Sales process” most often refers to a repeatable set of steps your sales team takes with a prospect to move them from early stage to a closed customer.

The common stages of the sales process include:

Prospect

The process of sourcing new early stage leads to begin a sales process with. Prospecting may involve online research to find net new prospects, or researching into an existing database of contacts.

Connect

Initiating contact with those early stage leads to gather information and judge their worthiness for moving forward.

Research

Learning more about a prospect and their company as they progress through the sales process can help sales reps offer a more tailored experience, and improve the likelihood a deal will close.

Present

A typical stage of many sales processes is to run a formal presentation or demonstration of what is being sold. This stage is time-consuming, so it typically comes deeper in the sales process and only for well qualified prospects.

Close

This stage refers to any late stage activities that happen as a deal approaches closing. It varies widely from company to company, and may include things like delivering a quote or proposal, negotiation, achieving the buy-in of decision makers, and other actions.

How to Build a Sales Process

Creating a Sales Process Map

You’re ready to put pen to paper (or, mouse-to-drawing tool) to diagram your own sales process. Where do you begin? Here are a few things to think about as you get started.

Start by observing.

Look back at the last five or 10 deals that closed. What were the major steps in the process? Touchpoints with the customer? Roughly how long did the entire process take, and how much time elapsed between each step? The more examples you have (and the more people on your team those examples are coming from), the better.

Map your observations to a generic example.

While every sales process is different, chances are the steps you observed align at least somewhat with the common steps outlined above. Your list of steps may be shorter, or may include stages not listed above, but a generic example is often a good starting point.

Define the prospect action that moves them to the next stage.

For each of the stages you define, you’ll want to have a crisp explanation of what causes a prospect to move from one stage to the next. Ideally that reason or cause will be based on the actions of the prospect, not the perception of the sales rep. Yes or no questions or questions with quantifiable answers are best.

Iterate over time.

Devising your teams’ sales process is a job that never ends. Especially in the weeks and months after your initial research, you’ll want to continue to iterate on your work based on feedback from your team. Over the long run, it’s likely your sales process will evolve as your team finds ways to work more efficiently and move prospects through your pipeline faster.

Let me know how this helps! You should be winning everyday, all day!!