There’s a new gTLD[i] on the block, with “.kids” set to join the domain name landscape. After decades of countless new TLDs coming on the market, the .kids release is a genuine first – it’s the “only child-centric TLD on the internet”[ii]. This is not marketing hyperbole: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child[iii] has been put at the heart of the domain’s governance.
The DotKids Foundation created this TLD to serve as a badge of trust, a collection of safe-spaces for kids online. The DotKids’ mission statement is “To create and foster an online space with kids’ best interest at heart”. However, good intentions doesn’t necessarily lead to good policy. With this new release there are clear dangers for children, DotKids, and brand owners alike. Brands and DotKids must take action, as responsible netizens, in order to protect the best interests of children. With the sunrise period set to open 11 August 2022, and general public availability towards the end of November, now is the time to act.
What to do
Brand owners need to register with the Trademark Clearinghouse in order to access the sunrise period of the .kids launch. The sunrise period opens 11 August 2022 and closes 14 September 2022.
Take advantage of the sunrise period to ringfence key brand assets, according to a well-defined domain portfolio strategy.
Brand owners should also consider how they can work with DotKids: to introduce a fit-for-purpose IPR protection policy, iron out existing policy inconsistencies; and engage with ICANN regarding .kids plus future releases to ensure governance best practices are considered at a much earlier stage in the gTLD release cycle.
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