By Dirk Krischenowski, CEO of dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG
The Internet has long become a fundamental channel of communications, domains are the main place to maintain a permanent identity in this channel. Companies and individuals, but also civil administration rely on domains that are easy to communicate, as intuitive as possible and semantically comprehensible. With the Internet massively spreading sensible new domains have also become a scarce resource within the current top-level domains (TLDs).
The logical consequence is thus to extend the name space on the Internet to take account of these developments. In the future, with city top-level domains, so-called cityTLDs, organisations and individuals will be able to register domains such as www.hotels.paris, www.taxi.london or www.zoo.berlin.
What are the benefits?
New namespace for many
The limited number of TLDs and domains within some TLDs has created weird competition. Growing numbers of disputes are one of the clues that existing TLDs are not sufficient to differentiate between more than 6 billion individuals, some hundred million organisations and thousands of local communities worldwide. cityTLDs like .berlin, .nyc or .dubai will calm this competition down, since new and suitable domains will be available with them.
Intuitive and semantic usage ahead
cityTLDs offer the opportunity to build a TLD with a solid fundament and framework. Due to the possibility to delegate domains for public and community interest, many important terms could become more intuitively accessible and semantically to use by a descriptive domain. Internet users will find things they are searching for more easily on the net, e.g. websites from the city government, administration and institutions like www.mayor.paris.
Strategic and competitive advantage for the location
Today cities compete for human and economic resources nationally and internationally. A cityTLD raises explicit attention for the city, gives the city an independent voice and space for expression, and is also a long-term location factor in terms of Internet infrastructure.
Local economy boost
cityTLDs will lead to a value added chain within the community that includes registration services, technical infrastructure, web services, design, advertising and a domain after market. Additionally e-commerce will be stimulate within the city, especially in areas in which the revenues are based on a national or international TLD so far, for instance www.hotels.london would thus have a good chance of wresting a significant market share from www.hotels.com.
Complement to the city portal
A citTLD can provide significant opportunities for a city, its administration and the official city portal. cityTLDs must thus be seen as a useful complement and extension to what is provided by the city portal. For city portals, cooperation with a cityTLD will result in increased attractiveness to citizens and thereby better e-government communication.
Image and branding
cityTLDs will ease the marketing of the city to prospective residents, tourists, businesses and investors from all over the globe. Websites like www.offices.boston, www.taxi.paris, and www.jobs.dubai will make the city's resources intuitively and more readily accessible.
cityTLDs create a name space which is clearly differentiated from others. Domains with a city extension will be recognised worldwide by Internet users as space where information and services from the city, about the city or by citizens is offered. Especially the full city name as TLD will foster a semantic understanding.