VeriSign Sets Up Online Brand Management Services

VeriSign Inc. made some noise Thursday when it unleashed new services to help firms construct, manage and protect online brands. To help with this, the Mountain View, Calif. concern bought 1GlobalPlace Inc., of El Segundo, Calif., and agreed to acquire NameEngine Inc., of New York City, for a total of $11 million in stock and cash. Both firms provide domain name management services.

VeriSign, which doubles as the top domain name reseller and digital trust services provider, is targeting attorneys, brand marketers and IT professionals with its Digital Brand Management Services. When established, the suite will allow businesses to register and protect their domain names, spider for user activity, as well as promote their offerings. VeriSign enlisted technology from branding concerns Cyvelliance Inc. (security), Cobion AG (security) and RealNames Corp. (keywords to navigate the Web) to help with their new service.

NameEngine and 1GlobalPlace expand the geographic reach of the services, which will be offered through offices in the U.S., Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, Germany and Hong Kong. NameEngine helps companies and legal professionals protect and manage Internet domain names and intellectual property, while 1GlobalPlace helps companies forge and protect brands in over 150 countries. 1GlobalPlace CEO Marc Holtenhoff and NameChange CEO Antony Van Couvering will remain with VeriSign in leadership roles, with 40 employees from the two companies will also joining the firm.

“Enterprises worldwide are faced with the complex challenge of extending the brand equity they’ve built in the physical world into the digital world,” said Maigread Eichten, vice president and business unit manager for VeriSign Digital Brand Management Services. “Our new range of services helps customers offload this complexity to a managed service infrastructure, enabling them to concentrate on growing their brands and businesses.”

Lisa Melsted, an Internet Market Strategies analyst with the Yankee Group who also acknowledged the difficulty of setting up a brand in the flooded online meat market, approved of VeriSign’s play.

“[The plays] are all good moves for them,” Melsted told InternetNews.com. “Part of the problem in that space is trying to figure out how to differentiate, how to bring value-added services and get beyond just selling the names.”

Melsted also said VeriSign’s entrance into brand management space is the logical next step, especially for the large enterporise market because they’ve already bought majority of names. “They just have to renew the domain names, they don’t need hosting services.”

Lastly, VeriSign went a step further to get its new service suite rolling with the creation of its Digital Brand Partnership Program, to let partners provide similar services to their clients. Marketing standbys Young & Rubicam and SF Interactive, are the first members of the program.

“Our customers expect us to be 100-percent focused on expanding and evolving their digital brands,” said Bruce Carlisle, president & CEO of SF Interactive. “It is bad enough for a client’s digital brand to be defaced midway through a multi-million dollar online campaign, but it’s even worse not to have the tools to recognize and correct the problem. VeriSign Digital Brand Management Services are the only comprehensive set of services that enable us to effectively monitor our clients’ brands and assist in their development and protection.”

Pricing for the services is based on volume and level of service.

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