Why all dotBrands need to be a part of the Brand Registry Group (BRG)

Why all dotBrands need to be a part of the Brand Registry Group (BRG)
SLAM Strategy is not a member of the BRG or affiliated in any way but as an Internet strategy company we clearly see the benefits of brands being involved. A top level domain name is not a trivial thing and signing the contract with ICANN is not something that should not be taken lightly. The BRG is a brand’s best way of protecting their interests. Although dotBrands and the BRG are only newly formed, in the years to come those that made the choice to join the BRG will reap the benefits of that decision and be the successful pioneers of the future of brands on the Internet.
Although some of the brands who have applied for a top level domain name are big, I mean REALLY BIG like Nike, Microsoft and Amazon, they are no match individually for likes of ICANN or the GAC. A fantastic example of this is the recent tussle that the brand Amazon has had in trying to approve their dotBrand dotAmazon. For all the strength and influence that the brand Amazon has, it is nothing but a tadpole in the global ocean when it comes to getting what they (as a brand) have every right to.
However it reminds me of a fantastic book I read called “Domination – The gTLD Name Game” written by Naseem Javed, a great man who I have had the pleasure of meeting several times and call my friend. In his book Naseem repeatedly talks about the fact that many brands would struggle to get their dotBrands approved based on the requirements of ICANN’s gTLD contract, well before the first dotBrand even applied. And true to those comments one of the biggest brands in the world looks to have been defeated.
Although Amazon is a member of the BRG and still unsuccessful in their application for a dotBrand, imagine what issues brands who are “going at it alone” are up against if one of the world biggest can’t get approval. Amazon has invested hundreds of millions in growing and developing their brand name around the world over the years and still failed. The only answer for brands is to join the BRG and band together to champion the commercial interests they represent.
The Brand Registry Group’s (BRG) mission as per their website http://brandregistrygroup.org/mission.htm is to represent the common interest of their members, to be recognised as an essential stakeholder by ICANN, to champion policies that enhance security, stability and trust of the Internet users, to explain why .brand type registries aid in enhancing consumer protection and a thriving digital economy, to deliver consumer protection in e-commerce and branded spaces through the promotion of secure, stable and trusted platforms. Honestly what more could a dotBrand applicant want in this unknown digital development.
Besides the fact that the BRG has a great mission for dotBrands, they also give all dotBrand applicants a single, powerful and most importantly educated voice on the Internet. I emphasize “educated” because this is a new space for brands to be in, they don’t know what they have and they don’t really know what they are doing when it comes to their new top level domain, no one does. By joining the BRG, members have the advantage of being able to network, solve problems, bounce legal issues and questions off each other and as a unit lobby for changes to the ICANN contract to their favour. Some of the world’s biggest brands have seen the benefits of this, just take a look at this line up:

Alibaba
Amazon
BBC
BBVA
Booking.com
Ferrero
Fox
Gucci
HSBC
KPMG International
LEGO Juris
Microsoft
Neustar
Philips
Reckitt Benckiser
Richemont
SCA
Seiko Epson
Shell
Sky
Virgin Enterprises
Yahoo!

It must be made clear that the ICANN contract was not designed with brands in mind, in fact when you really look into the contract it is riddled with potential issues for brands to be able to proceed to delegation. The BRG and its members are all focused on solving these issues by working together. A stand out example of the importance of the BRG is in relation to specification 13 of the RAA (Registry Registrar Agreement) where the BRG lobbied the GAC to provide brands with an exemption. While I am not going to go into details about the relevance of the RAA and the exemption, suffice to say that the only reason that the exemption was approved is due to the work of the BRG and its members in understanding what the brands need in order to operate their trademarks at the top level of the Internet, while simultaneously protecting the brands best interests. The scary thing is that while the spec 13 is pivotal to the brands success of running a top level domain it is only one of several extremely critical issues that those brands that have not joined the BRG run the risk of getting caught up in. These brands are potentially signing away their trademark rights and risking a very expensive legal battle should they want to do something that they can’t, or worse that puts their brand at risk. Yes the existing ICANN contract has the potential to negatively impact on the future success of a brand’s presence on the Internet.
Other issues that dotBrand applicants need to consider are what do you do with brands that want to protect their trademarks within other dotBrands if the dotBrand is closed. E.g lego.fox, fox.lego, ferarri.shell, shell.ferarri? The biggest issue that dotBrand applicants have is that the ICANN contract is about transparency and brands are all about privacy. Brands need to be very, very careful about what it is that they are signing. Working with a group of likeminded people with similar interests, to present a common voice that not even the biggest brands in the world can do, just makes good sense and why all dotBrand applicants should join the BRG.
For more information about dotBrands contact us on our website www.gtld.net.au or www.slamstrategy.com.au
To read our detailed article on the social media presence of all 647 dotBrand applicants or to download our report relating to the article go to http://slamstrategy.com.au/astounding-the-600-dotbrands-social-media-dilemma/

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