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DOTZON Study: Digital Company Brands 2021

DOTZON presents the fourth edition of the Digital Company Brands study. After having introduced the study in 2018, DOTZON continued to expand and enhance the underlying data to display how cities successfully use their Digital Company Brands. The Digital Company Brand is the digital dimension of a company brand and mirrors the “digitalness” of a company.

Purely digital company brands developed for the first time in the 1990s, with the emergence of Internet business models. Some of them were based solely on a generic Internet address, for example, www.hotel.de or www.amazon.com. However, the liberalization of top-level domains by ICANN opened up the possibility of using brand names as domain name extensions. Audi, for example, applied for its own top-level domain .audi, and Google applied for .google.

With the help of a top-level domain that bears the name of a company or product, it is possible to anchor the company or product worldwide as a digital brand. The top-level domain helps the brand achieve outstanding global visibility, supports the brand image and value, and thus represents a real competitive advantage. As a consequence, digital brands strengthen the brand identity and customers’ trust in the company and its products.

In order to make these so-called .brands more transparent for companies, agencies, and consumers, DOTZON analyzed for this years’ study the worldwide approximately 500 .brands with their 24,000 domain names. For the study, DOTZON analyzed seven key performance indicators (KPIs) with data from two different areas: In addition to purely quantitative data, such as the number of registered domains used for email communication and the relation between resolving and non-resolving domains, qualitative data such as search engine performance, visibility and links were analyzed as well.

Digital Company Brands 2021 allows a head-to-head comparison of all companies with their own digital identities. This year, for the first time, more company brands from a variety of different industries are among the top 10: In addition to the automotive and financial sectors, companies from the retail, Internet and industrial sectors are now represented as well.

The following shows the Top 10 Digital Company Brands. The comparison between years reflects the development of each brand in the ranking.

Digital Company Brands Ranking 2021

1st place: .leclerc

E. Leclerc is a French cooperative and supermarket chain and takes first place among all licensed .brand domain extensions for the first time. This means that a brand that is a big part of the everyday life of many French people has taken the top spot. The reasons for this excellent result are reaching one of the peak values in the category “newly used domains” as well as very solid rankings in all KPIs without any outliers.

2nd place: .abbott

Since its delegation, the US pharmaceutical company has been using about 260 domains under its extension. Compared to last year, .abbott remains unchanged in second place. .abbott deserves the good result because of the first place in the category “number of domains with Alexa rank,” the fifth place in the category “number of Alexa backlinks”, and a good place for newly used domains.

3rd place: .weber

Saint-Gobain Weber is a French manufacturer of construction materials and subsidiary of the French “Compagnie de Saint-Gobain.” .weber has improved by two places compared to the previous year. Especially the fourth place in the Alexa Rank contributes to this good result. In addition, almost all of .weber’s 158 domains are set up for email dispatch.

4th place: .seat

The Spanish car manufacturer regularly uses its .brand extension for print and online campaigns. The outstanding result of .seat is mainly due to its large amount of domain names being actively used and set up for email dispatch. It is with the help of the many domain names, that .seat was able to improve its ranking by six places.

5th place: .audi

The German company Audi uses its roughly 1,800 .audi domains to provide all of its German car dealers with a uniform domain extension for customer communication. .audi achieves very good scores with two second places in the categories “number of registered domains” and “resolving domains.” Further satisfactory results, for example, in the categories concerning the Alexa Rank, contribute to the overall fifth place this year.

6th place: .neustar

The US-based Internet company with roots in telephony has since been operating numerous websites for its services. Good rankings for the number of registered domains as well as the number of resolving domains ensure that .neustar is among the top 10 for the third time and that it was able to improve by two places to sixth place. The fact that many of the domains can also be used for email contributes to the good result.

7th place: .bnpparibas

The French banking group has been offering online banking services at www.mabanque.bnpparibas since 2016. Compared to last year’s ranking, .bnpparibas dropped three places and is now in seventh place. The company has almost 300 domains registered and achieves average positions with them in the categories “registered domains” and “resolving domains,” and good results in the categories “number of domains with Alexa Rank” and “number of Alexa backlinks.”

8th place: .google

Initially, Google was very hesitant to use its own .brand but has increased its use in recent years. The US company reached eighth place in this year’s ranking, thanks to good results in the categories “number of domains with Alexa Rank” and “number of Alexa backlinks”. In addition, .google achieved sixth place in the category “visibility.”

9th place: .dvag

The Deutsche Vermögensberatung AG (DVAG) is a financial consulting company operating in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It has been actively using its domain extension for several years. With a total of 5,179, .dvag achieves the top position in the category “number of registered domains.” In the categories “resolving domains” and “number of domains set up for email dispatch,” the .brand is top of the line as well. The fact that .dvag still only lands in ninth place is due to the small number of domains set up for email dispatch, as well as the low number of Alexa backlinks and Alexa Ranks.

10th place: .weir

The British pump manufacturer is a globally sought-after supplier to the industry. Weir uses its own .brand mainly for its new homepage www.global.weir. Compared to the previous year, .weir was able to improve by six places to tenth place and is therefore represented in the top 10 for the very first time. Especially the high number of domains set up for email dispatch, as well as many good results in the individual ratings, have contributed to this year’s success.

Outlook

Numerous companies have successfully started to use their .brand, and thus offer a variety of good examples of how their own domain extension can be used. Since the slow start in 2014, we have observed a significant increase in the use of .brand domains by companies in the previous year. These domains are mainly used in advertising and public spaces, on cars, and in the form of image or launch campaigns. In addition to online channels, companies are increasingly using offline media such as print adverts, flyers, brochures, or bumper stickers.

Other companies that have not yet started to operate their own .brand, want to take advantage of these opportunities as well. For this reason, after application rounds for new top-level domains in 2000, 2004 and 2012, ICANN is planning on opening a new application window within the next few years. The application conditions are currently still being worked out but could be quite similar to those from 2012. With the new application round, every company will once again have the opportunity to apply for its own .brand—from startups to global corporations.

DOTZON is an international management consultancy for digital identities. The detailed study Digital Company Brands 2021 can be ordered (in German) via [email protected]

By Katrin Ohlmer, CEO DOTZON

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