Should I Use a Domain in My Local .City TLD If and When It Launches?Posted: February 27, 2012
ICANN’s new TLD program may not result in many successful TLDs or the downfall of .com, but it will present some interesting decisions for many businesses.
Among the hundreds of rumored extensions are many large cities throughout the world such as .NYC, .Paris and .Berlin. Many businesses in these areas may look to establish a presence on their .city to appeal to the local market. Is this the right decision or would it be better to build on a .com or their local country-code extension?
The truth is there’s simply no way to know for sure until some time after these TLDs are live.
If you take a look at country-code TLDs for instance, there are some like .de and .co.uk that have captured mass appeal in their respective countries. Many others however don’t see the same level of adoption. In those cases, it’s not always the best option to get your country-code extension, even if your target market is your country.
That said, this release of .city domains will be different. A significant amount of countries have their own TLD. With the first round of approvals for early 2013 limited to 500 new TLDs at most, most major cities will not get their own extension. This hurts .city extensions as there won’t be any widespread expectation of a local business possibly being on a .city domain.
Here are some things to consider if your local .city TLD goes live
Are you strictly a local business or will you also have customers elsewhere?
If you intend to have customers from both your local area and elsewhere, basing your online presence on your .city would not be wise. Customers elsewhere wouldn’t even think to look for you there, and as we’ve noted in the past, the newness of new TLDs will put them lower in SEO benefits than using a .com, .net or .org.
If you’re strictly a local business, .city would be more apt for you, but you should still consider other factors, and you should always continue trying to get your business name in .com.
If you are merely local, do you have plans to expand?
Nearly every franchise started with one location. If your local business intends to spread, whether through additional locations or taking in far away customers online, a .city domain would not fare well. The vast majority of popular sites on country-code extensions see local popularity but don’t expand much internationally. With an even smaller geo area to cover, a .city domain would be extremely limiting.
Are you already established online or not?
If you’ve built a web presence online already, especially if it’s already working for bringing in customers, then it wouldn’t be wise to suddenly change your presence to a .city domain. It would still be a good idea to own the .city domain for your business, but simply redirect it to your established web presence.
Are you able to get your name in a solid more established extension?
Regardless of how well .city extensions do as a whole, they will be risky in the early stages. Even if you have to pay more, you may want to sidestep that risk with your business name in .com or .net instead of a .city extension.
How popular/well-used is the extension?
You may feel like it’s pointless to get your business name in your .city, but what if your extension really takes off for your local area? If a German local business didn’t use .de, they could likely face negative impact with whatever extension they do use, even .com.
It’s unlikely .city domains will get that popular, but you should still keep an eye on your .city TLD in case its popularity shoots up and it becomes a no-brainer to get your domain in it.
In general, it likely wouldn’t be a good idea to base your business on a .city domain, especially if your business is not strictly a local business. You should still consider getting it to redirect to your business site and it could be used for local promotions. As your primary domain however, it would be far too limiting and wouldn’t likely bring in more customers than a .com would.