AFL applies for .afl top-level domain

The AFL has become one of Australia’s first organisations to apply for a new top-level domain name, a move the organisation believes will help customers find more trustworthy information and expand its brand.

That application comes at the same time the cities of Sydney and Melbourne are believed to choose a new operator for their respective generic domains within days.

The AFL is the one of the first major organisations in Australia to reveal it has been pursuing a new top-level domain after ICANN opened applications. While some critics have said the $180,000 application fee will deter applicants, NetRegistry chief executive Larry Bloch says there is still demand for the new domains.

“The cost of the application, and the ongoing costs of maintaining that domain, are significant, and that’s not all of them.”

“For many organisations they’ll question the benefits of doing this, but there are larger organisations that will believe the cost is worth it. For example, the AFL might be working with other organisations and they want to more clearly define what the AFL is doing.”

General manager of strategy and marketing Andrew Catterall said in a statement the AFL domain will help expand the organisation’s branding, allowing it to make new sub-URLs such as “ladder.afl” and so on, while clubs could have their own official sites under the name.

Such is the benefit of these new top-level domains, as they allow businesses to register their own URLs. For instance, Apple could create personalised iTunes pages for users using the “username.apple” pattern.

However, as Bloch suggests, it’s more likely larger companies will be doing this than smaller ones.

“For a big organisation like Microsoft, that application fee is a drop in the bucket to them. So there are organisations that could absorb the costs.”

“Although it’s a percentage of the overall number of sites, there is demand. And certainly there are good reasons for businesses to apply.”

Bloch says businesses that want to register their name are going to have a much easier time gaining approval than those who want to register generic domains, such as “.lawyer”.

“There hasn’t been a great history of new top level domains opening up and generating widespread support,” he says.

Catterall says the new URL plan “could be a key asset to support our major strategies around national expansion”.

Melbourne IT has been chosen to provide consulting services for the AFL application, while ARI Registry Services will be supplying technology services.

Top-level domain applications close on April 12, but Melbourne IT managing director Theo Hnarakis says businesses need to move quickly, “as new TLD applications…may not open again for several years”.

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