Melbourne IT urges brands to swiftly evaluate new Internet domain application risks

[news release] With fewer than four weeks of ICANN’s official public-comment period for the 1,930 new Top Level Domain applications remaining, online brand specialist Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services (DBS) today urged brands to prioritize the assessment of potential risks and promptly respond before the comment window closes on August 12th.

More than 1,400 unique domain names, or ‘strings,’ were applied for among the 1,930 applications for new Top Level Domains (TLDs) announced by ICANN on June 13, including strings such as .shop, .baby, .football, and .home. Melbourne IT CEO, Theo Hnarakis, said while many brands applied for their own trademarks as a new TLD, all organizations need to review and assess all of the submitted applications to see if any of the applications pose a risk to their own brands.

“Every organization has a different risk profile and tolerance level in relation to their brand or online presence and strategy. We urge all brands to identify and carefully examine the top level domain strings which have been applied for that are relevant to their business, then judge whether they pose a business risk and take the opportunity to respond accordingly. For instance, financial institutions will be interested in who has applied for .bank, retailers should examine the applicants for .shop, and hoteliers will take a keen interest in applications for .hotel,” Mr. Hnarakis said.

“It is not necessarily as simple as merely looking at the list and being confident in knowing which brands or entities are applying, and for what string, particularly with applications being accepted in languages other than English for strings using non-Latin characters,” he said.

“With less than a month left to file a comment with ICANN during the public comment phase, the race against the clock has begun. In our experience, few runners are prepared to navigate the track, let alone the hurdles of the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook. There is a very short window for legal teams to wade through thousands of pages of detail to make sense of the data and translate raw facts into astute analysis and an actionable strategy. Time is running out.”

Melbourne IT DBS’s risk-review services offer two options to help quickly analyze published applications and determine risk – within ICANN’s limited 60-day comment window.

Tailored risk reports developed by an experienced Melbourne IT consultant, who analyzes new TLDs for potential risk and provides recommendations – such as whether or not public comments should be posted or whether or not an organization should consider filing a formal objection.
A powerful self-service information database that combines the publicly available ICANN data with proprietary qualitative assessments to help brand owners make better informed decisions. Using the database, brand owners can rapidly scan new TLD application data under a number of different criteria, including IDN translations, trademark classifications, industry categorizations, string similarity and much more. Data is supplemented with qualitative assessments of the mission statements, abuse prevention provisions and proposed registration processes detailed in the applications.

Both services are available immediately through Melbourne IT’s TLD Risk Assessment Center (TRAC).

“Time is one of the most critical elements of the new TLD challenge. Tackling a complex, time-consuming project such as this and developing effective public comments in a matter of weeks, to either support or oppose a new TLD application, will challenge even the most well-resourced organization. Working with experts with many years of experience and a strong understanding of the Application Guidebook means companies can approach the challenge confidently,” Mr. Hnarakis said.

Each TRAC risk report covers a list of up to 15 new TLD applications with a full analysis of the potential risks. Subsequently, a verbal debrief takes place with a Melbourne IT consultant to discuss the findings and recommended strategies to address any exposed risks – whether lodging a comment, formally objecting or determining whether a defensive second-level domain registration strategy is needed.

For those organizations wishing to undertake their own risk assessment, the self-service TRAC custom search and analysis tool facilitates deep searches of TLD application data to assist legal teams be more efficient and effective in their response. For more information about Melbourne IT’s TRAC services, visit

About Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services

Melbourne IT DBS helps organizations manage, protect and optimize online brands to maximize the value of online assets. The Company helps clients minimize risk and make smarter decisions in managing online presence. The company’s 3,800 clients include some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, Melbourne IT DBS maintains 15 offices in 10 countries, and is a division of the listed Melbourne IT Group (ASX: MLB). For more information, visit

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