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The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and it's a bigger season than ever, especially online. According to Shop.org, online holiday sales this year will increase 12 percent over 2011, translating to $96 billion in sales.
I suspect those figures will grow even larger next year, thanks to the end of counterfeit goods and fraud when holiday shopping online. That's because, in 2013, dozens of new gTLDs will go live, bringing with them new levels of Internet security.
Online shoppers may have encountered fake stores that use the names of major brands in their marketing. But even experienced Internet shoppers may not recognize these stores as fraudulent because these counterfeit shops often use domain names that are similar to the domains of well-known brands. The result? The paid-for products never arrive and the money is gone. The problem has been equally vexing for retailers.
But in 2013, things will finally be different. For example, imagine that Olympus Corporation creates a site with their new gTLD ".OLYMPUS" — let's say “cameras.OLYMPUS” — an online store with a gTLD controlled by Olympus to ensure that any cameras purchased there are genuine. Consumers can avoid unauthorized sites with names like “BuyOlympusCameras.com” or "OlympusCamerasForChistmas.net" and instead buy with confidence from cameras.OLYMPUS.
As new gTLDs go live in the second half of 2013, this scenario will become real for dozens of brands … and likely hundreds of brands in the years ahead.
Also, online retailers with dot Brand domains are likely to offer opportunities for deeper engagement with their customers. Brands will be able to more easily personalize the online customer experience. Cartier, for example, could create unique customer pages, such as “JaneDoe.CARTIER”, to make the Internet as personal as a bricks-and-mortar jewelry store for even greater confidence when shopping.
New gTLDs will definitely make the 2013 online holiday shopping season the first one in a new era where fraud is replaced by security and consumer frustration is replaced with consumer satisfaction.