The geoTLD.group is an international non-for-profit membership association. The group represents the interests of geographic top-level domains identifying a city, region, language or culture. The members are governments, companies and associations.
geoTLDs are shaping tomorrow’s Internet and creating digital identities for places and communities.
The geoTLD.group represents all geographic top-level domains and stands as their rallying point. The group strives to develop geoTLDs’ potential for the benefit of their cities, regions, cultures and languages.
With an estimated 1 billion websites in late 2015, you can easily get lost in the world wide web. Imagine a domain name that makes you feel at home right away: geographic domain-extensions bring local identity to the web.
In a globalized world, not only commercial goods are competing for awareness and recognition. Also cities are players in the field of attention seeking. Successful branding can turn a city from a location to a place where people want to live, work, invest and visit.
Places compete for people, businesses and reputation – also on the Internet. As the Internet has become one of the most important marketing and branding tools, cities must find unique selling propositions to maintain and increase their global digital competitiveness, also in the virtual world.
In today’s digital era, geographic domain extensions can serve as valuable tool for place branders and marketers charged with creating brand value for their location.
However, geographic domain names aren’t limited to cities but also help cultural regions to become visible on the Internet, with .bzh for the Breton community or .eus for the Basque language.
Contracts with US-based Internet administration organization ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned News and Numbers) are the basis for those new domain-extensions that give residents and companies the opportunity to develop their virtual brand identity.
A geographic domain extension reflects a city’s diversity, as well as sense of community: residents, businesses and city administration can be united under the roof of one virtual place brand.
As a place branding tool, domain extensions like .tokyo work reciprocally: for local businesses, institutions and private persons it is valuable to position themselves regionally through their domain name. In addition to that, they will receive better search engine rankings and take advantage of their city as a brand.
Digital brand management works the other way around as well: by using city domain extension, residents promote the brand externally. This bottom up approach means not only telling the world where a business, an institution or an individual is located but also about creating a sense of community and identity.
City domains as a tool for place branding create a link between physical geography and virtual space. A new domain extension raises awareness. It is a flexible communication instrument and as part of the Internet infrastructure is an ongoing advantage for a city’s external city marketing.
Websites like www.city-tour.berlin, www.londonnews.london or www.greatestplacetowork.nyc, immediately show what a city has to offer and make these offers become intuitively accessible for people worldwide.
Also, little stories can be told with the help of intuitive names: www.goto.capetown or www.rentabike.hamburg not only offer a functional domain name but work on multiple levels by creating emotions and images, staying in the minds of their visitors and therefore adding value to a city as a brand.
Domain names are the central instrument to show and keep a permanent identity on the Internet. Companies and individuals, political parties and civil administrations rely on domain names that are easy to communicate with, are as intuitive as possible and semantically comprehensive – for the Internet is an effective and substantial channel for communication. And don’t forget that nowadays your domain name must rank prior in search engines to that of the place’s competitors.
And the Internet is growing. According to Internet Usage statistics, there are approximately 952 146 700 websites. At the time you are reading this, there might already be 1 Billion. The domain-extension .de (for Deutschland) currently counts over 16.000.000 and the global extension .com over 125.000.000 domains.
A trend has evolved that provides a natural counterbalance to the dreams of globalization from the Internet’s early years. This “hyperlocal” movement is reflected in local searches and location-based services.
Place branding wants to connect people with a place. Creating a local tribe on the Internet is possible with a geographic domain-extension. Have a look at .berlin for example: its community consists of people who can relate to the brand “Berlin”. This includes residents, companies and institutions that are based in Germany’s capital. It also includes people with personal, social, cultural, economic or other relationships to Berlin.
As virtual real estate, geographic domain-extensions provide space for the emotions a place creates. It can help build a brand and make a community feel at home also online.
Here you will find our lotest position paper: geoTLD.group input to the Work Track 2 of the
New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group.