Exploring cityTLDs: Adventures of online travel

Veronika Vilgis
  • over 1 year ago
  • 2 min read

In 2014 geographical top-level domains (TLDs) were introduced to enable the association between a domain and a geographical, geopolitical or ethnic community. GeoTLDs comprise geographically diverse areas including islands (e.g., .corsica), cities (e.g., .doha), federal states (e.g., .nrw) and even entire continents (.africa).

Among these, cityTLDs are the most popular with some registered twice with different names or spellings (Barcelona: .barcelona / .bcn, Istanbul: .istanbul / .ist, Cologne:  .koeln / .cologne, Moscow:  .moscow / .mockba and Abu Dhabi: .abudhabi / .يبظوبا ).

How attractive are these cityTLDs and should you register your business or brand with one of them? 

Our data covers nearly two million geoTLDs. For this analysis we focus exclusively on cities and only on the cityTLDs where we identify at least 500 active sites.

Our data shows that currently the cityTLDs with the highest number of active sites are .tokyo, followed by .berlin, .nyc and .london.

Size of the circles reflects the relative size of the number of active websites for each cityTLD.

But, just looking at the number of sites doesn’t tell us anything about how these are used. Many could just be domains for sale. We were interested to see which cityTLDs have the highest share of Business and eCommerce websites. At the very top are four Japanese cityTLDs (.kyoto, .okinawa, .nagoya, .yokohama) 32% - 54% of those sites can be classified as Business & eCommerce. In contrast, South African cityTLDs have the lowest share of commercially focused sites (.capetown, .durban, .joburg). 

When it comes to Content sites Moscow (both .moscow and .москва) and five Japanese cities have the highest share, while most German cities (.hamburg, .koeln, .berlin, .cologne) are among the cityTLDs with the lowest share of Content sites.

If a cityTLD doesn’t have a large share of either Content or Business & eCommerce sites, then the vast majority of websites generally fall into any of the following categories: Placeholders, Parking or Low Content which means a large proportion is up for sale or not interesting to the general public. 

CityTLDs may be of particular appeal to micro, small and medium-sized businesses that want to make a name for themselves in their city and keep their client base local. For a baker in Sydney, may attract more local buyers than a more generic TLD such as .com.

As these cityTLDs become more known and grow, it’ll be interesting to see how their adoption changes over time.

Want to explore some websites that use a cityTLD? Here are three interesting picks:

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