Home / Blogs

Is finals.afl the Most-Viewed .Brand Domain Ever?

If you’ve ever visited or spoken to someone from Australia, there is a good chance you’ve heard of Australian Rules Football. Those who are followers of Australia’s most popular football code are often politely described as ‘fanatical’, with hundreds of thousands of followers attending games each weekend during the southern hemisphere winter.

The game is run by the Australian Football League (AFL) who acquired the .afl extension in 2012 and have become one of the more prolific and trailblazing users of their .brand Top Level Domain (TLD). For this year’s finals series, the AFL used www.finals.afl to promote the games and associated events, including the Grand Final which had attendance of over 100,000 people.

Attendees for the finals series games alone are over 700,000 people. Apart from visibility to those attending the games, www.finals.afl was exposed to millions via ads on television, radio, social media, and out-of-home advertising.

As a long-time advocate for the .brand movement, this was really impressive to witness. Even more impressive was the signage inside and outside the stadiums that contained the domain name—it was absolutely everywhere and those of you in the industry will know what I mean when I say that this was an opportunity to show my family what I actually do for a job!

When Amazon ran its ‘Build-on’ campaign using www.buildon.aws in a campaign that included ads in airports, train stations and other outdoor media, we thought that was pretty impressive. Similarly with the French train system manager SNCF using www.oui.sncf as its new customer portal for tickets and assistance.

One other interesting aspect of the campaign was the use of “finals-dot-afl” in radio advertising. Those who heard the ad reported how natural it sounded in the context of the rest of the script, helping to reinforce the message and provide an easy to remember call to action.

We may never be able to prove one way or another which .brand domain has been placed in front of the public the most times. One thing is for sure though, finals.afl enjoyed millions of impressions in front of a die-hard audience over this four week period and for now, I think it’s OK to give it the cheeky interim title of ‘most publicized .brand domain name to date’.

Let’s see how long it takes for a global brand to become the challenger!!

By Corey Grant

Corey is part of the Registry Services team at Neustar, based in Australia. Neustar is the largest registry services provider by number of TLDs and are leaders within the ICANN community in policy and governance.

Visit Page

Filed Under


finals.afl doesn't show up at all in Kevin Murphy  –  Oct 19, 2018 8:41 AM

finals.afl doesn’t show up at all in the top 1 million domain lists provided by Alexa or Umbrella today.

Redirects are an effective .brand strategy Corey Grant  –  Oct 20, 2018 9:41 PM

finals.afl is a redirect, not a standalone site. Like newsroom.apple and app.google, the AFL used finals.afl to drive customers to content on its main site afl.com.au. This is a common and highly effective strategy employed by most .brands, which provides a short, memorable pathway to content on a main site in order to pass on all the SEO benefit. For those interested, more information can be found here.

Unless I'm misremembering how Umbrella works, it Kevin Murphy  –  Oct 20, 2018 10:25 PM

Unless I'm misremembering how Umbrella works, it tallies DNS requests. So it would notice redirects too, right?

t.co is also a redirect George Kirikos  –  Oct 24, 2018 12:39 PM

Corey: Twitter's t.co domain is also a redirect, but has an Alexa Rank of 43 (globally) at the time of this post, see here. So, a domain name used as a redirect would still show up in the Alexa rankings, if it had sufficient traffic. Since finals.afl hasn't shown up in the top million, that demonstrates the point Kevin and I made.

Beat me to it, Kevin George Kirikos  –  Oct 19, 2018 10:52 AM

I was just about to post the same, Kevin! It might be the biggest .fail in new gTLDs history, if the Alexa stats are accurate and it had so much promotion.

But, AFL.com does have Alexa data (still not in the top million according to https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/afl.com but it does have a rank of 59,046 in Australia—just a parked domain). AFL.com.au does get much higher traffic, though, according to Alexa.

Try "SNCF" in Google Jean Guillon  –  Oct 20, 2018 11:07 AM

French hit that keyword. See what happens.

Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet



Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API


Sponsored byVerisign

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign


Sponsored byDNIB.com

New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global