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  • Khusbu Sharma

Domains of Top 100 brands

Updated: Feb 25



“A brand is a promise. A good brand is a promise kept.” ~ Muhtar Kent


Brands are never built in a few hours, it takes time, patience and hard work. Every day thousands of new brands are introduced but only very few are able to make a measurable and meaningful impact in the world. The one thing that sets these brands apart is a strong digital identity and presence.

A strong digital presence starts with the right domain name. A domain name is like a hand shake for a business. Consumers interact with the domain name before they even reach a business website. Benefits of choosing a right domain.


“The right domain names can do wonders for the brand.”

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In order to understand the domain names habits of successful brands, we examined the top 100 brands in the world and their primary domain names.

What is a domain name? Anatomy of a domain name.

The brands were selected from the report released by Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brands


Geographic spread



The brands are spread across 14 countries: USA, UK, Sweden, China, India, Australia, France, Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Canada, Germany. Unsurprisingly, USA has the highest number of brands in the list.


Top Level Domain (TLD) spread



Again as expected, 96% of the brands use .com for the domain name. Some of the outliers are

  • LIC India uses .in,

  • Zoom uses .us and

  • Moutai & Commbank uses .com.au (ccTLD of Australia).

.COM is one of the oldest TLDs and is still most widespread. Since these brands have been around for quite some time, they started their journey with a “.com” and never needed to change it.


Keyword usage


Further, 93% of the domain names are an exact match to the brand name, i.e the second level domain is an exact match to the brand name, this is in line with the well known format - “BrandName.TLD”.

Having an exact match domain signifies two things to the end consumer - (a) The business has been in operation for quite some time and hence could get the exact match domain name quite early and (b) The business makes sufficient revenue to afford an exact match domain name.

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The other 7% brands use different formats for their domain name:

  1. Acronym - Texas Instruments and China Construction Bank

  2. Using part of the name/Industry Name – TeleKom.com.

  3. Using a “dash” in the name Mercedes-Benz.com.

  4. PostFix “LTD” – ChinaMobileLTD.com.

  5. PostFix “India” – LICIndia.in.

  6. PostFix “Global” – DidiGlobal.com.


Owning an exact-match domain name creates a durable and competitive advantage that can never be stripped away from the brand. Although, not having an exact match domain name always makes you stand out from the others, it is not the de facto choice for businesses and consumers. That’s why it is said that “choosing the right domain for your brand is a critical and necessary part of any business.”


Registrar type



Choosing the right partner for domain acquisition and management is very important for the long term health of your domains.

The analysis of domains of the top 100 brands shows three registrar types.

  1. 80% of the brands use a corporate domain registrar

  2. 4% opt to manage their domains via their own registrar. Facebook.com, Alibaba.com, Instagram.com, telekom.com are the 4 self registrars.

  3. 16% choose a ‘retail’ registrar.

Thus it is very clear, a successful brands need a corporate domain registrar.


Domain Registration Year


Mapping the year of domain registration gives some very obvious insights and some not so obvious ones.

Most domain registrations have taken place in the 90s. Close to 50% of the domains were registered between 1994 and 1998.

In some cases such as Tesla, the domain was registered much earlier than the company came into existence and then acquired the domain.

There are companies that registered the domain name as early as 2017 and have reached the top 100 brands in 5 years - DidiGLobal (established in 2012)



Conclusion

“.COM” is the most popular TLD even for brands that are focused in one region/country. The new gTLds, introduced in 2012 have not yet made it to the top 100 brands.

Brands know the value of and actively use a corporate domain registrar to manage their domain portfolio and keep their brand safe on the internet.

Most brands use an exact match domain name as their primary address on the web and we are seeing this trend continue with other large corporations across the world.


Domains are invaluable to brands and businesses and cannot be left to one department or to one person to manage. They require close co-operation between IT, IP and Marketing/Branding team to not only safeguard the brand but also deliver the required ROI.





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