A Look At How the New TLD Space is Shaping up in Japan

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As the New TLD Application deadline steadily approaches things are finally starting to become clear in Japan.

Here is a quick rundown on how things are shaping up in the Japanese market.

Brand TLDs:

Over the past few years I have been in meetings with dozens of brand holders, from large multinational corporations to small-medium sized local companies, each wondering how New gTLDs will impact their brand and online branding strategies.

Based on my own personal experience I expect around 40-50 .brand applications to come from Japan. Unfortunately, I suspect that a lot companies will submit applications just to “protect” their brands.  I hope that these companies’ TLDs will eventually evolve into a more creative and innovative use of the DNS, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I also expect to see a few nation-wide companies embrace the opportunity as well. As we all know, Canon and Hitachi are the only Japanese companies that have publicly announced their intentions to apply.

City TLDs:

At this point only Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto (in that order) have completed the RFP process, evaluated potential applicants, and provided letters of support/letters of non-objection.  All three cities have explicitly stated that they are only supporting applications for the ASCII versions of the TLD.

Tokyo endorsed GMO Registry as the registry operator and Interlink as the backup registry operator.  Osaka recently gave permission to a total of four companies looking to apply (GMO Registry, Interlink, BusinessRalliart, and Future Spirits).  And finally, just yesterday, the government of Kyoto announced that have endorsed the Kyoto Jouhou Gakuen (Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics (KCGI)) as the applicant for .Kyoto.

Other governments seeking interested parties include:


Generic TLDs:

Only two companies have publicly anounced intentions to apply for generic strings. Those strings are .Shop (GMO Registry) and .SiTE (Interlink).  Both have a high probability of contention. Additionally, Interlink held a contest called the World Domain Cup in which Internet users voted for .earth, and Interlink is currently preparing the application.  I only expect around 5 to 7 generic applications form Japan, but sincerely  hope I’m wrong. Really wrong.

We’ll keep you posted!