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Fashion Firms and the Domain Name Game

Michelle Mancino Marsh, chair of the fashion law practice at Kenyon & Kenyon, spoke on what to expect when the new ICAAN program goes live next year.

Fashion brands need to have a specific game plan as more domain names provide options for where companies might want to direct traffic on the Internet.

Michelle Mancino Marsh, chair of the fashion law practice at Kenyon & Kenyon, spoke on what to expect in navigating the new program on generic top-level domains, or GTLDs, maintained by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN) that is expected to go live late next year.

She said firms can protect their core brands that are trademarked by registering with the Trademark Clearinghouse, which helps to authenticate and validate the trademarks in the Clearinghouse.

 

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Even early registration doesn’t mean clear sailing ahead. She noted that the Coach brand likely will have competition for the .coach domain from those who want the domain for coaches of team sports.

The application fee was $185,000, and when the period for applying closed on April 10, there were 1,930 filings. Generic domains applied for include .fashion; .shoes; .store; .coupon and .buy. Companies have until Jan. 12 to file a formal objection to any of the applications.

Her firm’s advice to clients has been that they don’t need to purchase many urls, but to keep the domains they want “very concentrated [because you want the] consumer to understand where to go.”

So a firm such as Chanel, which has chanel.com, next year might have chanel.chanel for its home page, and shoes.chanel that is product specific.

“Don’t lose sight of your Internet branding vision by overdoing it,” Marsh advised.

While finding information can be easier with the new GTLDs, that’s only provided a company has a well-thought-out plan beforehand, Marsh concluded.