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Attorney feedback behind Markify's new search and watch services

“Listen to the customer” is a popular, and often a very good, advice when you develop your products and services. We didn’t just listen, we sat down with some of our best trademark attorney clients and discussed for hours.

“How can we at Markify help you serve your clients better?” was our main question.

The core answer, from both small and big firms, was rather simple:

“We like your searching and watching services. We love the accuracy of your trademark search algorithm. And the Markify pricing is amazing.

But, your services need to cover more trademark, domain name and common law databases.”

So the last year our team have been busy adding new databases to our comprehensive searching and monitoring services for trademarks and domain names.

Our geographical focus in this process has been the 28 EU countries, the US and the new gTLDs. We start here, but we will not stop here . . .

You find detailed descriptions, samples and pricing of our new offers here:

Comprehensive Search reports

Trademark monitoring

Domain name monitoring

We truly understand the value of your feedback. It is what helped build these services in the first place. So any more feedback is highly appreciated!

Domain Name Watch Now Including
New gTLDs: $29/Year

Markify is now adding domain names from all the new gTLDs, as they are being released, to our global  Domain Name Watch service. And the price remains the lowest in the industry: $29/year per watched brand.

If you are in the process of evaluating different domain name watch services (sometimes called Brand Monitor, Brand Alert or Domain Monitor), you should know that there two things that set Markify apart:

1. Similar results

We will not only give you identical matches of the brand, but also phonetically identical and phonetically similar results. To our knowledge, no one else does this.

So if you are Pepsi Co and want to be alerted when confusingly similar domain names are being registered, you will get reports with results like this from us:

  • PEPPSI.com
  • PEPSEE.camera
  • BUYPEPSINOW.net
  • PEHPSI.org
  • PEBSI.guru
  • PEPSI. de

2. Best price

We believe all brands should be able to afford  a domain name watch. And the cost for monitoring your brands at Markify is only $29/year per watched brand.

For this price we will watch your brand in the old (.com, .net, .org etc) and new gTLDs and in more than 200 ccTLDs (.de, .fr, .se, .jp etc).

This low price also means that you can easily monitor hundreds of brands. A lot of trademark attorneys put in their whole portfolio of trademarks into the Markify domain name watch system. Then they offer their clients to monitor the reports for a fee (maybe $200/year). And when there is an infringing domain name, they alert the client and may get new work. A win-win situation.

If you have found a better or cheaper domain name monitor service, please send me an email at benoit at markify.com. Thanks!

Markify exhibiting at INTA 2013 in Dallas

Markify is exhibiting at INTA 2013 meeting in Dallas. If you are in Dallas make sure you come by our booth to get some very interesting offers.

One of our offers is:

Global Domain Name Watch including all the new gTLDS coming later this year +200 of the older gTLDs and ccTLDs. All for $29/year per watched name.

This way you can offer all clients a monitoring service that finds not only identical but also similar domain names. And at a price much lower than the Trademark Clearing House.

Welcome!

Two issues you won’t hear in the sales pitch for new gTLDs

With only 15 days left until ICANN opens the gate for another 1000 top level domains, my guess is that most big brands now plan to buy their own gTLD. Why? Like I wrote in an earlier blog post: Mostly for defensive reasons. They don't  want to risk that anyone else would use their brand as a top level domain.

Some trademark holders, with really famous, well-known trademarks, will be able to stop others from getting the tld. But most trademark owners will not be able to stop an application, because they don’t have all the trademark rights (all classes, all markets). The only certain way to stop anyone from using your brand as a tld will be to buy the tld yourself.
If you are considering buying your dot brand gtld, there are lots of firms who want to help you with this. But there are two issues, one short term and one long term, they will downplay which every aspiring "dot brand" should beware of.

Short term issue: It will be difficult for a brand to communicate the new url string

This might seem trivial but I think it will be a major issue in the beginning.

Take the airline SAS. They don’t own the “www.sas.com” url, so they might be interested in a top level domain of their own like “.sas”. But how shall they communicate it the first couple of years, before broad customer groups get used to the new gtlds?

Three alternative ways to communicate the url string:

1. “Visit us at .sas” – It is difficult to understand that it is a url. A single dot to indicate where you live online will maybe not be enough for large groups of consumers.
2. “Visit us at www.sas” – Feel like something is missing, right? Where is the domain extension?
3. “Visit us at http://www.sas” – Doesn’t make things easier, just longer.

My guess is that most brands who invest in their own gtld will choose number 1, the “.sas” alternative. They will try to emphasize the dot graphically, but it will take time before people understand and appreciate the short url.

After a few years people have learnt that some of the big brands have their own gtld and that is indicated by a dot.

Advice: Wait with the launch of your new .brand url until your target groups understand the new url concept.

Long term issue: People use automatic suggestions and search results instead of url’s

A lot of people access url’s by typing the brand name in the browser search box. At that point they get automatic suggestions, based on frequency and individual habits.

If your brand is among these suggestions, the actual url means less. If you are not among the suggestions, you should as a big brand be among the presented search results. And that has less and less to do with your actual url, and more and more to do with marketing and good SEO.

This development will of course continue. Browsers and search engines will become increasingly smarter (Apple's Siri is a great example) and the need to know the url will continue to diminish.

Domain names will stay important but branding and trademarks will once again have the upper hand.

The "secret" reason why big brands
will buy their own new gTLD

Last week there was an interesting seminar in Stockholm about the new top level domains (gTLDs) that will be open to application early 2012. Participating were representatives from all sides: registrars, registries, ICANN, trademark lawyers, brand owners and domainers.

I got to talk to some of them and here are my thoughts on how big brand and trademark owners will and should act. (We at Markify have no financial interest in the new gtlds.)

Three categories of gTLDs

First a bit of background:

From January 2012 anyone can buy their own tld, http://newgtlds.icann.org/ The fee for just buying the tld will be $185.000 plus $25.000/year. The cost for marketing your new tld will of course be much higher.

The three main categories that will apply for a new tld seems to be:

1. Geographies/Communities: .nyc, .moscow, .gay
2. Generic words: .bank, .poker, .shop
3. Brands: .facebook, .hitachi, .canon

Number 1. Geographies and number 2. Generic words will both try to sell domain names in one way or another.  But number 3. Brands is a very different category, with a very different agenda. What will they do and why?

The one big reason to buy a tld for a trademark owner

Why should a brand owner even consider buying a new gtld? The core sales pitch you can hear focus on two aspects:

  • A short and attractive url – .SQUARE instead of SQUAREUP.COM
  • New marketing possibilities – DRIVE.BMW instead of DRIVE.BMW.COM

I think most owners of big brands will think: “Why bother? I don’t need that. I already have the url I want and I’d rather spend that money on something else.”

True, but my guess is that they will reconsider and actually try to buy the new tld. Why? For one big reason:

You don’t want anyone else using your brand as a top level domain.

Some trademark holders, with really famous, well-known trademarks, will be able to stop others from getting the tld. But most trademark owners will not be able to stop an application, because they don’t have all the trademark rights (all classes, all markets). The only certain way to stop it will be to buy the tld yourself.

What you should do: 3 cases

In short: If you can afford it - both the fee and the future marketing costs - you should buy your own tld. But for a couple of different reasons.

Case 1 - “Facebook”
You own the relevant .com and there are no other identical big brands competing for the new tld.

To-do: Buy the new tld primarily for defensive reasons. You don’t want anyone else to own it.

Case 2 - “Apple”
You own the relevant .com (like Apple Inc does) but there are other identical brands (like Apple Records) competing for the new tld.

To-do: Buy the new tld primarily for defensive reasons. You don’t want anyone else to own it and in the long term there might be advantages using it.

Case 3 - “SAS”
You don’t own the relevant .com, like Square, SAS (the airline), Next (many) etc. This group is highly motivated and they are the dream clients of the "helping-you-get-the-tld-you-deserve" industry.

To-do: Try to buy the new tld to get an attractive url. And be prepared to invest heavily in marketing your new domain.

The .com vs new gtlds

For the foreseeable future, 3-5 years, I believe the .com will continue to be the prime real-estate online. The new top level domains will form a new, second rate domain class, just below the .com domain.

Why? Because most big brands, that already have the .com, will not bother to invest huge amounts in teaching people a new url. Even if the url is shorter, it still is a change of address. And as long as the big brands stay on the .com with their main sites, it will continue to be the prime address.

Benoit Fallenius Founder and CEO

In this blog I will mostly write about two subjects:

1. Trademarks, domain names, naming and branding - Four separate areas that often are not that separate.

2. Markify news - Features, markets, pricing, challenges etc.

Feedback and questions are always welcome. Email me at benoit@markify.com.