Guillaume Pahud
Guillaume Pahud 11 July 2016

Dot Brand - What Are They

An increasing number of brands are using their name at the highest level of the internet domain name - instead of .com. is a website, by swatch, presenting the pop collection. What are they, who decides, is it possible to apply, and what are the benefits?

What are dot brand?

Technically, dot brand are classic websites, intranets or mx records, relying on the same underlying structure as the ".com" or ".de" websites. The "DNS", transforming the name into a machine readable IP address, is also unchanged. .BMW is on the same database as .com, and the machines treat them identically.

The changes are 

  • Ownership and Responsibility: .com is operated by Verisign, while the .brand is operated by the brand itself, who is able to define their own rules. The brand also has the responsiblity of a "part" of the internet.
  • The name itself: The brand will be able to associate meaningful keywords, such as, that clearly associate the brand with an idea.
  • The volume: A brand will be able to create multiple sites. Of course, this requires to have an different organization as today, to be able to generate content etc.....
  • The agility : A brand can create and delete domains with high frequencies
  • The potential : This opens the door to the creation of domains for every connected object, reinforcing the security and possibly making a new use of the DNS.

More info on dot brands are available on

What's the story?

ICANN is the organization in charge of the naming and numbering on the Internet. In 2012, ICANN opened, during a few months, the possibility for organizations to apply for top level domains. Amongst the 1930 applications received, around 600 were generated by brands who had applied for their brand name as a Top Level Domain name. These are major brands, such as google, microsoft, bmw, Canon or HSBC, from various regions – China, India, Japan and USA – and verticals – banks, luxury, internet ,media etc..

The subsequent processing of the application was longer than expected, and the first brands started using their Top Level domain name as of mid-2014. It is presently not possible to apply, but the process may be reopened in a few years. 

What volume does that represent?

375 of the 600 brands are now live. 85 of them have actual dot brand websites and 70 more have created second level domains redirecting to content sitting on pre-existing websites. Overall, close to 4'300 domain names were created by June 2016.


Compared to the 300 million domain names globally, this is quite small. But these are very popular and well known brands, who are progressively getting increased visibility and traffic. 

What is the value?

Brands are still testing and trying to understand how to use that new asset. 

Brands who launched in an extensive fashion, declare 5 main benefits 

  • Security - some banks, such as BNPParibas or Bradesco, have transferred their main site to their ".brand". This helps reduce phishing, and increases the level of security.
  • Innovation : It is a new, innovative way to create websites and to talk to customers. can promote itself like that : 


  • Better customer experience, as customers can reach directly the desired information in a clear and explicit was : is used by Weir in their communication


  • Better branding. The new domain name enalbes swatch to create a great branded domain for the relaunch of the pop collection : 


  • Increased marketing efficiency : BMW could launch their next100 concept under domain name



Learn more

A great resource to understand better the Top Level Domain and the dot brand is the dot brand observatory -


More data an info also on

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