The new geographic domain extensions provide an answer to the wish of companies and organisations to underscore their local foothold in their city or region. Some figures.
New Top Level Domains
In 2012 decided that the entire system of domain extensions had to be thrown open. In addition to conventional generic extensions (.com, .org, .biz, etc.), and the two-letter country extensions (.be for Belgium, .nl for the Netherlands, etc.), a whole range of new domain extensions would be created with “ordinary” or generic terms. The introduction of these new generic Top Level Domains or gTLDs is a process that gradually picked up steam and reached cruising speed last year.
Today, there are 1,213 new TLDs to choose from, and more than 27.5 million domain names have been registered with one of these extensions. They consist of a wide array of terms, ranging from marketing-sensitive words (.fan, .guru, .top, ...), professions (.lawyer, .architect, .immo…) to health (.health, .dentist, .doctor) and food & drink (.menu, .pizza, .restaurant...).
Geographic or geoTLDs constitute a separate group in these new extensions. They often have to do with regions which were left out of the country code TLDs, because they are not an independent country, although they are a clearly distinguishable region within that country, with their own identity, culture and language.
Our own .vlaanderen and .brussels which up to now fell under .be (Belgium) come immediately to mind, but also .scot (Scotland) and .wales (Wales) with their own culture within .uk (United Kingdom), .quebec which distinguishes itself from the rest of Canada (.ca) by having French as the main language, .bzh (Brittany), with its own language which just like .corsica falls under France (.fr), .krd for Kurdistan, etc. These regions have their own identity in the digital world thanks to these domain extensions.
Other geoTLDs have been set up to bring together larger groups of countries such as .africa for African countries or .lat for Latin America. And finally, there are city TLDs such as .amsterdam, .gent (Ghent), .berlin, etc.
A full list of all top level domain names, including all geographic TLDs, is provided in Wikipedia.
Although the geographic TLDs are by definition geared to a smaller group than more general terms such as .cloud or .party, they are very successful nonetheless. They seem to meet the needs of companies and organisations to stress their local foothold.
In the top 100 gTLDs with the largest number of registered domains, .kiwi (New Zealand) is the first geo you will come across (202,000 registrations – 27th place). The Big Apple (.nyc) follows at 41th with 73,836 registrations, and Berlin is 49th with 58,733 registrations.
Other city TLDs that are extremely successful: .amsterdam (25,800), .london (57,300), .paris (22,000). .brussels, which can be used for the Brussels-Capital Region as well as for the city itself, has in the meantime raked in 7,000 registrations. The Flemish region has 6,900 organisations and companies which opted for a .vlaanderen domain name.
For more statistics on the popularity of the nTLDs, go to ntldstats.com.
Belgium promotes .vlaanderen and .brussels
As you know, DNS Belgium is the founder and administrator of the geo TLDs .vlaanderen and .brussels. Together with the administrators of other geo TLDs, we have joined forces with the GeoTLD.group, to inform the general public jointly about the possibilities these geo TLDs have to offer.
To raise awareness among companies and organisations about the new domain extensions .vlaanderen and .brussels, we conducted a promotional campaign on pioneers.vlaanderen and pioneers.brussels some months ago to showcase the new registrations, in particular through the social media.
Have a look – you just might find inspiration for your own .vlaanderen or .brussels domain name.