Could Your Business Benefit from a City Based Domain Name?

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Over the last few years you may have noticed the steady accumulation of different domain suffixes all over the web. In what was once a .com or a .co.uk world, there are now a proliferation of different domain names to choose from when you set up shop online. From the trendy .ly domain (which turned out to stand for Libya and was affected by the Arab Spring – something we’ll bet bit.ly weren’t anticipating), to the reputable .gov and .org – the internet is awash with different domain suffixes and now more are coming to join the party.

As of February 2014 there are 3 city based domains now available: .berlin (for Berlin), .wien (for Vienna) and .london (for London). The latter half of 2014 promises to see the launch of .nyc (for New York). So should your business be getting on board with a city-based domain? What are the benefits? Are there any downsides and how can you get your mitts on a new suffix?

Should you go .city?

It all depends on the nature of your business. For those with a national or even global target audience, keeping things broad is not to be underestimated, no matter how trendy a snazzy new domain might look. Let’s take www.everline.com as an example. These guys are specialist online lenders, helping businesses of all shapes and sizes from right across the UK to find a flexible source of finance. Limiting themselves to a .london address could significantly slash their target market, incorrectly suggesting to interested businesses from outside of the Big Smoke that this lending option is not available to them.

Meanwhile, localised businesses stand to really benefit from a new city domain. For example, the popular Dinner by Heston restaurant in London is a prime candidate for a .london address. This addition could stand the restaurant’s website in great stead in local searches for restaurants in London. It also immediately tells searchers and visitors where the restaurant is and lends a certain amount of prestige – London is known for being a thriving, modern metropolis full of great food and culture!

We’d recommend a “.city” domain if: 

  • You’re a local business with a local target market
  • You have a range of domains but would like a new one to target a specific city’s demographic
  • You operate a global or national chain of businesses and want to localise individual franchises
  • You want to exclusively deal with businesses and customers in just one city
  • You want to associate your business with a particular city for branding purposes


Where’s going .city next?

.berlin, .wein and .london are all up and running. .nyc should follow in May 2014. Following this there are many cities still in the process of applying for a .city domain including:

  • .bcn (for Barcelona)

.hamburg (for Hamburg)

  • .cologne (for Cologne)
  • .paris (for Paris)
  • .roma (for Rome)
  • .sydney (for Sydney)

Applying for a .city domain

The application process varies from city to city as most of these domains are being managed by different providers. It is likely to prove a slow process to start with. In London, for example, there is a hierarchical system in place which ensures that the right people get the right domain. Those with “London” in their trademarked company name, for example, take precedence, followed by those with an identical domain with a different suffix (i.e. the owner of XYZ.com is a shoe in for XYZ.nyc). After this it becomes a free for all – first come, first served.

Will your business be investing an a .city domain? What impact are you hoping it will have on your business both online and offline? We’d be interested to hear if any of you are in the process of applying and how you’re finding the systems in place. Drop us a line below and let us know!

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