Cities have been forming their brands for centuries, promoting recognizable landmarks and features or a unique flair, conveying authenticity and emotion. Some big cities have taken things to the next level in today's digital era by launching their cityTLD with the full name or the city's abbreviation. A cityTLD represents a digital asset for citizens, organizations and institutions, enabling them to create the perfect localized identity on the internet. It is a powerful and authentic marketing tool in the hands of local communities. Many cities all around the globe have developed their digital brands very effectively over the last few years.
In particular the European capitals seem to be quite proficient and prevalent in doing so. This is shown very clearly by the study conducted by DOTZON, which considers different parameters. Let's take a closer look at DOTZON's study about cityTLDs in 2022.
cityTLDs in the DNS
The idea of initiating a TLD string based on the city's name was put forward by .berlin in 2012 and ICANN accepted the applications for geographic extensions for the first new gTLD program. Since 2014, marketers, local business owners, and organizations have been able to register their domain names with a clear local targetization. Currently, 35 cities have digital city brands in the namespace, with some holding two TLDs or an IDN version, bringing the total up to 40 cityTLDs in the DNS. For example, Barcelona has .barcelona and .bcn, Istanbul .istanbul and .ist, Cologne .koeln and .cologne, Moscow .moscow and .mockba and Abu Dhabi has .abudhabi and ابوظبي.
Some cityTLDs are no longer available for registration, like .doha, which was initially intended for promoting Qatar's capital, and .budapest, which has never been used and was terminated in 2022. Learn about some of the most significant TLDs that are no longer available for registration: These TLDs do not exist anymore.
The Digital City Brands Study 2022
Since 2017, DOTZON has been examining the success factors and key performance indicators of cityTLDs. Last year we presented the 10 most successful cityTLDs in 2021.
Again this year, DOTZON has collected and published their findings in the study "Digital City Brands 2022" (PDF, available in German). To measure the "digitalness" of a city, the study takes eight key performance indicators into account in order to determine the strengths and values of the TLDs dedicated to the most prominent cities worldwide. These parameters are:
- number or registered domain names
- annual sales volume
- number of active domain names
- number of pages per TLD listed on Google
- number of domains listed in the Alexa and Majestic rankings
- number of domain names per 1,000 inhabitants
- gross domestic product per domain name
- comparison between the cityTLD and the national top-level domain (ccTLD)
The overall result for each cityTLD corresponds to the average of all individual placements within all parameters.
The 10 most successful cityTLDs in 2022
The Digital City Brands 2022 report gives a clear overview of the cities that leverage their digital identities more successfully, benefiting most from their cityTLD. Here is the top 10 ranking.
10# .hamburg / .wien
Hamburg is one of three German cities listed in this top 10. With over 20,000 registered domains and a turnover of approximately USD 759,000 USD, .hamburg keeps developing positively, although it has slipped three positions compared to 2021.
This year, for the first time, the cityTLD of the Austrian capital Vienna made it to the top 10, mainly due to the high score achieved in the category "Alexa and Majestic rankings" and a substantial turnover of about 450,000 USD. Furthermore, a total of 16,448 registered domains contributed to the result.
By May 2022, 38,582 domain names were registered under .london, which corresponds to the fourth-best result in the city ranking. In addition, the cityTLD achieved the third-highest turnover with around 1.2 million USD.
One of the most significant metropolitan cities in the world could certainly not be missing from the top cityTLD charts. The extension .paris reached 4th place in the category "annual sales volume", with roughly 770,000 USD and counts 22,556 registered domains.
The city on the Rhine has dropped two positions over the last 12 months. .koeln is primarily in the top 10 due to its results for the gross national product per domain name. Furthermore, it counts 19 domains per 1,000 inhabitants and a total of 20,916 registered domain names.
After its record climb last year, the coastal city in Florida managed to defend its 6th position! Thanks to the 35 .miami domains registered per 1,000 inhabitants, the sunny cityTLD reached the top place in this category and also showed the highest performance when comparing it with the national ccTLD. .miami is registered seven times more than the national .us.
Only reaching 11th position last year, .vegas shot up to 5th place this year, with almost 19 domains per 1,000 inhabitants and more than 75% active domain names. Last but not least, the cityTLD of Las Vegas has a 333% higher penetration rate than .us, picking up the 2nd position in this category.
The Dutch capital loves its cityTLD! The domain has been achieving excellent values for years, reaching the top 10 for the 6th time. It excels in the domains-inhabitants ratio, notching around 25 .amsterdam domains for every 1,000 inhabitants.
New Yorkers have been establishing their digital home in .nyc since 2014. With 64,120 domains, registrations are growing year over year and the cityTLD is at the top of the Alexa and Majestic rankings. Like other US cityTLDs, .nyc is much more popular than the national domain extension .us!
The Japanese capital again secures the second spot in the top 10 ranking of most successful cityTLDs worldwide. With 301,577 domains, .tokyo is the cityTLD with the most registered domain names. In the category "cityTLD versus ccTLD", the Japanese capital performs almost as well as the ccTLD .jp.
The cityTLD of the German capital remains at the top of the chart as the most successful digital city brand for the sixth year in a row. The TLD, operated by dotBERLIN, was the first cityTLD available to the public. .berlin achieved good to outstanding values in most of the KPIs. The almost 50,000 registered domain names ensure a turnover of around 1.8 million USD and include 57 domains listed in the Majestic rankings and 7 in the Alexa ranking.
cityTLDs as a response to digitization
More than ever before, cityTLDs are taking on a crucial role. The processes related to digitization are impacting every sector, increasingly gaining importance in the fields of e-government and the development of smart cities. They enable everyone to benefit from a digital tool for location marketing and branding.
You can find a wide range of geoTLDs covering all your local needs in our all-in-one platform AutoDNS!