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Fast Chat: Donuts Inc. Co-Founder Jon Nevett

Biggest top-level domain applicant talks about why brands shouldn't worry

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Among the list of 1,930 new top-level domain names requested, some of the generic extensions were already causing a stir, like .sucks and .wtf. These are just two of 307 applied for by a company that has the whimsical name of Donuts, Inc. No one had ever heard of the firm until the company, backed by $100 million in financing, forked over more than $56 million to get into the domain registry space during the Internet's biggest land grab.

Many of Donuts' founders have long resumes in the business and direct experience working with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the international organization managing the plan to add thousands of new TLDs to the Internet.

Adweek spoke with Jon Nevett, executive vp of corporate affairs and one of Donuts' co-founders about its bid to operate generic TLDs such as .baby, .vote, and .sports.

Adweek: You were the biggest applicant of generic TLDs. Why register for some many?
Nevett: We think there is pent-up demand for new names for things people are interested in. Up until now, the market has been restricted.

Brands are particularly worried they will have to shell out millions to protect their trademarks to the left of the dot for all these generic names. Tell me why they shouldn't be worried about counterfeiters and cyber squatters.
I served on the panel for Icann to come up with protections for trademarks. The new TLD space will be a lot safer than the old system. It includes a quick takedown system.

How will your company handle trademarks?
We have additional protections to make sure trademark owners have a safe environment. Brands can protect their names more easily with us, rather than dealing with hundreds of other companies. For our names, we'll audit Icann's ... database for accuracy and do takedowns if necessary. We'll also have our own protected marks list. Brands can also pay a one-time price to hold a name.

Who can register to be in .radio., .shopping, or any of the other generics?
We'll be running open TLD registries. We won't restrict people from registering. To the extent there is any wrongdoing, we'll take action. But we don't want to restrict people up front.

How to you protect a trademark such as Coach with the operation of a .coach?
We were thinking of a sports coach. It's a generic term, it's not meant to sell leather handbags. We will reserve any names for leather, or conflict with the brand.

Why apply for the controversial .sucks name?
It's a First Amendment name. We have some opinion-type TLDs that we applied for. We also applied for .blog.