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.brand TLD project: the four main stages

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Creating a .brand TLD – a unifying, cross-cutting and long-term project (part 3)

Here we look at the main stages involved in obtaining and implementing a .brand TLD in an ideal structure. The stages are not sequential and may be carried out in parallel or overlap, depending on the organisation and timing of each business.

Stage 1: In-house elaboration and maturation of the project prior to General Management’s go-ahead (the WHY)

The need is usually expressed first by one of the divisions, whether the communication/digital or the legal/protection component of the brand. The very first stage consists therefore in undertaking a examination, the outcome of which is likely to persuade General Management to lend its support to the .brand TLD project.

This stage involves the divisions or functions most affected by a possible .brand TLD, which constitute the initial core of the project task force, sometimes minded even at this early stage to rely on an external adviser to prepare the ground and contribute some answers likely to help General Management decide:

  • induced benefits in the context of the business’ general and/or digital strategy
  • divisions affected/organisation
  • costs
  • execution horizon
  • forecast changes in terms of communication, Internet infrastructure, etc.

The objective is to construct a high-potential project that will contribute value to all stakeholders and strengthen the brand’s digital strategy in the long term.

Stage 2: Study of the specific ways in which the project will be implemented within the business

The support of General Management having been secured, the second stage will consist in studying, with a more process-oriented approach, the likely consequences in legal, operational, technical and other terms of adopting the .brand TLD.

These reflections too may be conducted in association with an external service provider which will be able to highlight both the constraints and the opportunities thanks to its specialised expertise in administering TLDs.

The objective here is a dual one:

  • on the one hand, to prepare the action plan which will be implemented once the TLD has been delegated
  • and on the other, to bring together all the elements that will inform the future application to ICANN

It is at this stage too that certain decisions on the future will have to be taken if they have not been taken in stage one:

  • whether or not to use an advisor for the preparation of the application
  • whether or not to use a back-end registry operator and if so which one
  • basic features of the naming policy, establishing, for example, the degree to which the TLD will be open to third parties: partners, operators, customers, etc.

Stage 3: The application and delegation

Although it is based on the first two stages, the Application is a specific exercise in that it requires considerable formalism. To save time, and to minimise the risk of rejection, it is strongly recommended to seek the help of a specialised advisor (which may be the same one that already took part in the upstream reflections).

The submission and acceptance of the application will be followed by the contract signing phase with ICANN and the technical delegation phase, in other words the addition of the .brand TLD to the root. This marks the actual coming into existence of the TLD.

Stage 4: Post-delegation phases

Once the .brand TLD has been created, the project task force will have to coordinate the various aspects of its implementation. This is the stage in which decisions have to be made on some very specific matters:

  • migration of the digital identity (a separate project in its own right) and updating of communication media
  • integration of business lines, subsidiaries, partners, etc.
  • migration of Internet infrastructures
  • precise definition of the naming policy
  • organisation of the administration and day-to-day handling of the .brand TLD

The cross-cutting project task force will have accomplished its mission, but might very well evolve into a steering committee to continue coordinating the various internal and external parties involved in order to ensure that the management of the .brand TLD stays in line with the evolving needs of the business over time.