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What the .sucks domain can mean to your digital marketing efforts

February 06th, 2015 , Jeffrey Hodnett Branding, brand, Strategy

8.pngOn April 8th, 2015 the folks at ICANN (who oversees domain name registry among other things) revealed the list of approximately 1400 proposed new domain extensions that could potentially replace .com.  Digital Marketing types who keep tabs on such things expect that most new domain extensions shouldn’t have any significant effect on your business- except one. The soon-to-be-infamous .sucks extension is garnering some well-deserved attention as speculators, brands and angry consumers all line up to get their hands on these potentially lucrative domain names.

As of now, the proposed price for a “premium” .sucks domain is starts at $2499 and up for trademark owners to secure their marks during the sunrise period.

The Association of Corporate Counsel reports that “The .sucks pricing scheme has been widely criticized in the trademark community, with brand owners and attorneys pointing not just to the high sunrise fees, but also to the tiered general availability price structure, which will maintain the $2499+ price tag for “premium” domain” – names which coincidentally correspond to trademarks registered in the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).

Pricing for the domains is confusing to say the least. It starts at 9.95 for “consumer advocates” and then quickly rises to 249 for “standard” and goes as high as 2499 for “premium brands.” Keep in mind that these are annual fees.

Here’s a quick overview (screenshot from



Should You Add .sucks into our digital marketing budget?

Honestly, that depends on who you are and if you think you can take the hit. Oddly enough, the big guys (who can afford it) are likely the least to suffer from it.

  • If you’re a consumer brand, it’s probably worth the hassle to add this into your mix. Reserve it today and figure out the pricing structure later. It’s hard to think that a huge brand like Budweiser would be reeling from a website, but it may just be easier to take it down ahead of time.
  • If you’re a public figure or a politician, you also might want to grab it. SEO around your name will become important and if you don’t want people seeing the negative.
  • If you’re a local service provider (think plumber, contractor, and roofer) who depends on SEO as a critical part of your digital marketing mix, it’s also probably worth the 199 a year.
  • If Yelp or Angie’s list are of major importance to your business.
  • If you’re looking to do a public offering (initial or otherwise) it probably makes sense to limit exposure from disgruntled former employees who are mad about their option prices.
  • If you’re a not-for-profit or any other type of organization who relies on your reputation for donations it also might make sense.

At the end of the day, a .sucks domain showing up on your search isn’t the end of the world as most people will likely see it for what it is. Andy Beal, a reputation management consultant puts it this way, “When was the last time you read about a negative domain causing a reputation issue for a company? A negative tweet, Yelp review, or blog post can do far more damage.”


What is the BFD?

If you are concerned about this, you can go to any domain registration site and look into your own name (, etc.). Pre-ordering starts at various prices based on the domain name.

You can also go to and pre-reserve you name for free. It is unclear how they plan to parse out the names or if your reservation is exclusive, but it will at least alert you when your .suck domain comes without having to lay out cash now.

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