Australian Football League (AFL) may soon have its own branded domain name, .AFL, the first Australian brand to openly confirm it is applying for a top-level domain (TLD).
AFL’s decision to take up its own TLD came from the need to support its digital media and fan development space, and to secure the trust environment.
“We think that it’s worth getting the trust and mark secured and getting the space secured, and then we’ll see what commercial opportunities and marketing opportunities [will] evolve over time,” AFL general manager of strategy and marketing, Andrew Catterall, said.
“There are opportunities in there for clubs, for our partners to promote their association with the AFL and the clubs, to help make it easier for our fans to navigate content, simplify marketing call to actions — there’s a whole bunch of opportunities that roll out of it. We’ll play them out in more detail if we are successful in securing the license.”
The decision follows a three-month application window for the new TLDs that opened in January, with an estimated 1000 applications to be submitted by 12 April this year.
ARI Registry has partnered with the sporting organisation to operate the technology to support the .AFL, which AFL has outsourced to ARI permanently. Melbourne IT has also partnered to assist with the application and help AFL develop its business case.
ARI chief executive, Adrian Kinderis, said that the AFL, as a leading brand, could encourage more Australian brands to get on board in taking up a TLD commercial initiative. However, he urged companies to move quickly, as “the window's finite and we don’t know when the next window is going to open".
“You need to mobilise right now. There’s about a month’s worth of work, at least, and that’s really pushing it in order to get there,” Kinderis said. “The key here is you need to get moving now.”
Kinderis added that TLDs are going to play an important part in digital media in the future. “This is, in actual fact, internet 2.0. The way we navigate the internet is going to change forever. If you’re a large corporate, I’d absolutely would be at least looking at this,” he said.
“This is your real opportunity to build the foundation of your digital strategy.
“As internet users, we’re very use to change. I think that the tsunami of TLDs that are coming, which will actually be live on the internet towards the end of this year, will be a complete new way for us to engage on the internet and to navigate through all that content.”
Kinderis said Australia is “behind” in TLD take-up compared to North America, and that local organisations need to start mobilising.
“If we want it to be a North American Wide Web, then we should do nothing. But I think there’s a real opportunity for Australia.
“Get mobilised, get moving now, do your due diligence on this opportunity. And if indeed you decide it is for you then get the right partners involved and get moving.”
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