Back in June 2012 fewer than 40 cities applied for a TLD matching their name. This global Google map shows where they are:
|The .abudhabi TLD||The .madrid TLD|
|The .amsterdam TLD||The .melbourne TLD|
|The .barcelona TLD||The .miami TLD|
|The .berlin TLD||The .moscow TLD|
|The .boston TLD||The. nagoya TLD|
|The .brussels TLD||The .nyc TLD|
|The .budapest TLD||The .osaka TLD|
|The .capetown TLD||The .paris TLD|
|The .cologne TLD||The .rio TLD|
|The .doha TLD||The .roma TLD|
|The .dubai TLD||The .stockholm TLD|
|The .durban TLD||The .sydney TLD|
|The .gent TLD||The .taipei TLD|
|The .hamburg TLD||The .tokyo TLD|
|The .helsinki TLD||The .vegas TLD|
|The .istanbul TLD||The .wein TLD|
|The .joburg TLD||The .yokohama TLD|
|The .kyoto TLD||The .zuerich TLD|
|The .london TLD|
These TLDs are seeing varying levels of success in terms of registrations, local awareness, renewal rates, need to discount and it must be said that limitations such as nexus requirements (for example to own a .NYC you must live or work in the city) may work against overall registrations while simultaneously adding to the health of the namespace. Arguably nexus requirements build a stronger foundation for a city TLD to grow with locals, guaranteeing longer term success.
In thinking about the health of the namespaces, ideally we’d want to see a growing number of registrations without too many drops at renewal time, but a high number of registrations doesn’t equal high health (and vice versa).
.Berlin was the first to launch and currently stands at 54,209 registrations. According to ntldstats.com, .Amsterdam has 26,844 registrations, .Tokyo has 68,711 registrations and .NYC has 73,440 registrations. .London however, just pushed to the top of the chart with 74,352 registrations.
So with fewer than a thousand domain registrations separating .London and .NYC can we really say that .London is on top? Well let’s take a look at the trend data and other signs of health.
Source of data: ntldstats.com
What’s incredible looking at the two charts above is that the scale is similar, the registration volume is similar, the drops at renewal time as well as the registration climb after launch are all similar. At first glance these charts look the same. At second glance it looks as though .NYC is declining slightly and .London has started to climb again.
There’s something interesting about the recent climb of .London over the last few months and that is the growth occurred on two distinct days:
- 2,772 domains were registered on May 6th, 2017 which represented a 4.7% increase
- 8,195 domains were registered on August 1st, 2017 which was a 12.5% growth in a single day.
Why such significant increases on these two days? A sudden uplift in investor sentiment? Registry discounts and promotions? Available names recaptured by the registry? And do these big jumps on a single day (at any other time than following the initial launch) add to the health of the TLD or will these two sudden climbs be reflected by sudden drops next year?
As I began to research the cause of the one day jumps in registrations I came across an article by Kevin Murphy over at Domain Incite. The article seems to discover through financial filings that MMX who manage the .London registry had to payout a significant amount to an unnamed gTLD partner based on “overly ambitious predictions about the TLD’s popularity”. What’s also interesting is that Kevin’s article was published on April 26th, 2017 and ten days later on May 6th the number of registrations jumped 4.7% in a single day as described above. Perhaps someone who follows .London can comment if you’re aware of any discounting or promotions on these dates leading to the increase.
With .Tokyo being not too far behind in terms of registrations it may be worth taking a look at the trend.
Looking at the growth in registrations it seems the steadiest growth trend with around 20,000 registrations upon launch in the summer of 2014 and no major drops – only growth to almost 70,000 registrations today. I think the steady growth, no major drops and still an upward trend shows a few aspects of the health of the TLD.
Considering upcoming deletions and % of domains parked.
|TLD||Upcoming Deletions||Parked Domains|
|.Tokyo||1,224 (1.78%)||34,825 (51%)|
|.NYC||650 (0.89%)||40,212 (55%)|
|.London||901 (1.21%)||51,559 (69%)|
With almost 70% of .London domains being parked it is an added signal which questions its health. .NYC and .Tokyo both being low-mid 50% is better, but ideally the aim would be to reduce the number of parked domains to continue to foster the TLD.
While the data and research here isn’t a deep dive – it highlights some useful metrics. While I have a bias (and investment) in .NYC domains I am amazed by the steady growth of .Tokyo and somewhat confused with the state of .London.
.NYC benefits from being the same length as .com (making it fit as a domain extension more naturally) and although there are nexus limitations which must be keeping registration numbers lower I see this as an investment by the City of New York and Neustar in the long term health and adoption of the domain.
So who’s on top? Leave a comment below detailing the city TLD you like the most and why? My vote is on NYC with two very close competitors in .London and .Tokyo. Ultimately use and awareness beats out domain registrations in demonstrating health and success. The work done by cityTLD registries over the next few years in fostering community and maintaining TLD health and visibility will be crucial to the long term (20 year) success.