- Geographic top-level domains such as .hamburg or .koeln have been used by hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies since 2014.
- Decisions on new top-level domains will be made at the ICANN78 Annual General Meeting in Hamburg from 21 to 26 October.
Many cities and regions have their own top-level domains such as .hamburg, .koeln or .nrw. Such geographic top-level domains or geoTLDs, which represent a regional area, have been available in Germany since 2014. Since then, hundreds of thousands of citizens and companies have reserved their personal Internet address with a geographic domain extension. Many use these not only for websites, but also to set up their own regional email address, such as Firstname@Lastname.hamburg.
Some Germans would like to see even more diversity in their choice of top-level domains. According to a recent survey of 2,514 Germans over the age of 18 conducted by the opinion research institute Civey on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, 15.6 per cent would personally like to see more local endings for web addresses/domain endings. 36.2 per cent are undecided, 48.2 per cent do not want any more local endings.
“The desire for regional top-level domains among Germans is definitely there, but we would like to inform and educate especially the undecided about the possibilities,” says Thomas Rickert, Director Names & Numbers at eco – Association of the Internet Industry.
Not only regions, but also companies and private individuals would benefit from personalised domain endings. “Among other things, GeoTLDs can promote creative location marketing and regional communities online,” says Rickert. “Many local businesses, restaurants or start-ups in a region use the local geoTLD and thus profit from the respective image of their location. Often, names or terms are still available under these TLDs that are already no longer available under the long-established TLDs.”
At its ICANN78 Annual General Meeting in Hamburg from 21 to 26 October, the community of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will set the course for new top-level domains, including geoTLDs.
geoTLD.group meets in Cologne in September
In a bottom-up system, different stakeholders develop appropriate rules for the extension of the Domain Name System and new top-level domains. “The ICANN community holds the reins and develops rules and policies in a grassroots, democratic way. These may include the framework for the introduction of new top-level domains, such as geographic TLDs, or the handling of registration data in accordance with privacy laws. For example, the fact that a .com domain can be easily transferred from one provider to another is also due to the fact that ICANN has developed a transfer policy for this,” says Rickert.
The eco Association is co-organiser of the ICANN78 Annual General Meeting – together with the City of Hamburg and DENIC. As the local hosts, they will jointly host ICANN78 and welcome around 2,000 -3,000 visitors from all over the world.
A number of exciting activities for all interested parties are already taking place in the run-up to the conference. For example, the geoTLD.group will hold its Members Meeting 2023 on Monday, 11 September 2023 to discuss the current market and future developments for geoTLDs.
Further information & links
* The opinion research company Civey surveyed 2,541 people in Germany over the age of 18 between 26.06.-27.06.2023 on behalf of eco. The statistical error of the overall results is 3.1 per cent.