A domain name such as atmyplace.be consists of two parts: the name itself, atmyplace, and the extension.be. Such an extension is referred to by professionals as a Top Level Domain, or TLD . There are different types of such TLDs, each with their own aim and connotation.
Many types of TLDs
Initially, there were seven top level domains that emerged with the internet, the best known of which are .com, .org, .net and .edu. It became apparent all too soon that these generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) would not suffice to keep up with the growth of the internet and to address the wishes of registrants. ccTLDs ensued, where cc stands for country code. These extensions are reserved for countries, e.g. .be, .nl, .fr. Furthermore, new gTLDs have surfaced in recent years, such as .blog, .info, .jobs, .shop.
In addition to ccTLDs there are also geoTLDs. They refer to geographic entities that are not countries, such as a region, a language, a city, etc. They have been created to supplement the national ccTLDs.
Show who you really are with geoTLDs
geoTLDs are intended to give registrants an opportunity to show who they really are with their domain name. In point of fact, people do not identify solely with the country in which they live. Some have a closer link with their city or their region. A Catalan registrant can perfectly opt for the extension .cat nowadays, and an entrepreneur active only in Flanders, can opt for .vlaanderen. Some people identify more with the city in which they live than with their country, as attested to by the statistics: the top five of the 51 existing geoTLDs are cities: Tokyo, London, New York, Berlin and Amsterdam.
The geoTLD.group, of which DNS Belgium is a founding member, is the umbrella organisation of registries responsible for managing a geoTLD. DNS Belgium is accordingly the geoTLD member for the extensions .vlaanderen and .brussels which it manages. The organisation is endeavouring to develop geoTLDs fully.
The map below shows the distribution of geoTLDs and geoTLD members. Upon closer scrutiny, geoTLDs are popular especially in Europe. The number of geoTLDs continues to grow throughout the world nonetheless (by ca. 1.9% per year), and nearly 1 million websites had a geoTLD extension in 2018.
|geoTLD String||Country||GeoTLD member 2019|