DotBrand Domains Strategic Frameworks

It is possible to categorise the process that dot brands adopt as they populate their registries into three types of framework.

  • Core domainsconsisting in hosting large websites, very central to the brand core business.
  • Added value domains, where the dot brand domain resolve to a minisite, used for campaigns or to position the brand on specific values.
  • Cloud of domains, where domains do not host actual content but really redirect to other content.

It should be noted that the frameworks are not mutually exclusive and that the most active brands are actually implementing a combination of solutions. We will describe and provide examples for every one of those Top Level Domain frameworks in the page, with the global evolution of the number of TLDs making use of these frameworks.

Our detailed brand case studies are, amongst other analysis, describing how brands are making use of these frameworks.

dot brand framework for analysis of TLD structure

Core Domain Framework

The core domain framework consists of hosting large websites that are core to the activity of the brand in the dot brand space. The core sites are transfered from other legacy Top Level Domains.

The Core domain framework can come in two forms: a single core framework, and a multiple core domain framework. These dot brand domain frameworks will be detailed, using examples from active operational brands. This framework is the most challenging for brands, as the core sites are usually the most popular brand sites. The activation of a new domain is therefore more risky than activating a temporary campaing site.

Single Core Domain Framework

dot weir new Top Level Domain name

The single core domain framework is a holding strategy, which is conservative but allows brands to build around a single core domain. This gives brands the benefit of building search results. is a good example of this framework as it is the primary site for the whole of the Sandvik brand.

Weir used to have a large number of websites with inconsistent domain names, and has regrouped these multiple sites into one main site, This site has become the primary site for the Weir brand. More in our dot weir case study

Multiple core domain framework

The multiple core domain framework features a series of domains which reflect how the brand currently sub-divides its web assets. For example, the SLDs might relate to a product category or per customer type.

BNP Paribas utilised the multiple core framework.

It has activated 15-second level domains under .bnpparisbas so far, using them to replace legacy domains mostly under .net, which support valuable digital assets namely its e-banking sites. supports the main marketing website, central to its operations, but SLDs under the dot brand support key transactional sites including:


More in our BNP Paribas case study.

bnpparibas uses the multiple core framework for their dot brand

Added Value Domain Framework

The added value domain framework features the creation of SLDs that support existing sites or landing pages. These new registrations complement legacy assets and are used in particular to generate traffic. Added value domains can be used for campaigns, to promote events or to host marketing content. Sometimes added value domains match the branding of established mini-sites or microsites.

BNP Paribas also utilises a number of added value sites dedicated to specific content, such as:

  • – a banking program dedicated to startups
  • and – which retraces the history of the bank

Purposes for added value domain include:

Dot brand domain name for retail partners

ondinauto dot seat is one of the new SEAT sites on new gTLD

Brands may use distribution partners to sell their products to end customers. Microsoft resells its products via a certain number of electronic stores; insurance companies have numerous agents or agencies.

Car manufacturers rely on dealerships to promote, sell and also service their automobiles. To support its distribution network, SEAT create a domain name for every one of their dealerships in Spain.

More in our dot seat case study.

Dot brand domain name for retail partners

BMW is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the campaign next100. This campaign is supported by hashtags, events, and also by the website. BMW has created multiple other minisites, sometimes using third level domain names – is the Serbian domain name for a next 100 microsite.

Sony’s exploitation of its dot brand registry for a short-term project-specific website also conforms to the added value framework and is worth consideration.

In November 2015, Sony created a temporary site under its dot brand: This was used as part of the promotional launch campaign for “Spectre”, the latest James Bond film. Over time, the site has been phased out. The domain does not resolve any more and consequently traffic for the site has decreased.

Another prominent example of utilisation of a dot brand SLD to support campaigns is the domain that is a social hub to aggreate content from end customers who are sharing how they are living a better and fuller life.

Cloud of Domains Framework

The cloud of domains framework features the registration of SLDs which simply redirect to established pages of the primary websites. These domains do not have any unique content.


In this framework, a relatively large number of second level domains are registered and redirect to existing pages of the primary websites. There are three main types or redirects :

  • Permanent “301”redirect in the header of the HTML page. The 301 status code informs search engines and robots that this page is transferred permanently to another URL
  • Temporary “302”redirect in the header of the HTML page. The 302 status code informs search engines and robots that this page is transferred permanently to another URL
  • Javascript redirect

While the two first redirects can be identified by checking the HTML header, the latter one is more complex to identify, and sometimes requires manual analysis. Some brands such as Bradesco, are mainly using that third type of redirect.

Redirect to home page

This strategy consists of redirecting the page to the home page of the brand, irrelevant of the keyword that was typed. This is relatively uncomplicated to implement, but has limited benefits. It can be used to create branded short URLs.

Mango, the women’s high street fashion retailer, has utilised the cloud of domains framework with a simple home page linking strategy. Mango created a number of product related domains, using very popular keywords from including:


All these domains redirect to one page :

 Deep redirect

brand dot deloitte in a youtube movie

Deloitte is using the cloud of domains framework to promote its rebranding operation. The movie is showcased on Youtube and on Deloitte’s main site. redirects to the branding page of Deloitte:

Bloomberg has a complex redirection strategy, where they try to have sites redirect to the relevant pages of their sites:

  • redirects to
  • redirects to
  • redirects the user to

A popular use case is the language management. The domain is a site in the added value domains framework. The domain is a domain within the cloud of domains, that redirects to the Spanish version of .

Redirect and branded short URL

Active network has created 170 short URLs from the domain, that redirect to specific pages from their actual websites. The format of these short URLs is DotStories provides a dedicated ShortURL branded links solution.

Frame Redirects

This technique is also called URL Masking or a frame redirect. It is a type of domain forwarding that loads the forwarding destination page while keeping the URL the same. Active Network’s website can be displayed using the domain name, or The html code in the page simply says “publish the content from”

Use of framework

Brands are using multiple frameworks, and the chart shows the number of brands who are using a combination of frameworks. The majority of brands are using the cloud of domains, as it is the easiest to set up and the less risky.