Update: General Motors has withdrawn all five of its applications for top-level domain names, including those for .Chevrolet, .GMC, .Cadillac, .Chevy, and .Buick.
GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said GM will “not establish Internet global top-level domains for its brands and is in the process of withdrawing all applications for top-level domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.”
Ms. Carney also said the company has reassessed its strategy since it made the applications last summer, which require $185,000 application fees. Fortunately, most of the funds are refundable.
“The digital landscape is constantly changing and GM regularly evaluates our digital marketing strategy to make the most effective and efficient use of our digital marketing budget. GM is committed to making access to our brands simple and intuitive, regardless of device or methodology,” she said. “We’ll continue to listen and adapt to our customers’ needs and preferences in the digital space. If their attitudes or behaviors shift, we’ll adjust accordingly.”
General Motors is looking to register .Buick and .Chevy generic top-level domain names (gTLD). The gTLDs are a new internet naming scheme that is the equivalent to .com and .org that would allow users to go to Cruze.Chevy (without any .com or .org ending) to access a website about the Chevrolet Cruze. While some beleive that the new naming convention places greater emphasis on the brand and its product, GM has mysteriously withdrawn applications for .Chevrolet, .GMC, and .Cadillac.
The usage of the recently-announced top-level domain names lies at the behest an approval by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which was established in 1998, and took over control of the domain name system from the U.S. government.
General Motors is among other automakers that have applied to use their name/brand as a top-level domain name, with most applications being filed last summer.
The GM Authority Take
What the?! Why would GM not want to secure its brands as top-level domain names? Well, we might have a clue — and it all revolves around cost. You see, the fee to apply for a gTLD was several thousand dollars below $200,000. On top of that, the registrant would be billed a fee of $25,000 a year for the continued registration of the name.
So, given that GMC and Cadillac are fairly unique brand names, it might be safe to assume that their registration by a party other than General Motors would likely be declined by ICANN. So, it’s possible that The General simply decided to wait until gTLD registration fees decreased than the ludicrously-expensive $185,000 (roughly) to register .Cadillac and .GMC.
The flipside of that reasoning is that $500,000 (for both .Cadillac and .GMC) is a drop in the bucket for GM; however, given that the automaker is feeling the squeeze brought on by lower profitability, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibilities.