TL; DR: Local domain extensions are one of the many top-level domain categories gaining traction among website and business owners. This domain category features extensions for major cities, including New York City, Miami, and Boston. Local businesses looking to highlight their location in their branding can use geographical domains to do so. GoDaddy helps users find local domains with its registry and domain registration services. We spoke with Alexandra O’Keefe, Senior Marketing Manager at GoDaddy Registry, about the growth of local domains, its benefits, and other domain trends.
Imagine you’re a restaurant owner preparing for the grand opening of a BBQ dive in a new location. You’ve worked for months to expand your business and are finally ready to launch this new addition to your brand. Everything on your list is done, including hiring employees, stocking up inventory for the busy week ahead, and fixing seating arrangements.
You think you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s but realize you forgot one crucial element: your website. Getting your website up and running is essential to your success and will help direct traffic to your store. So you jump online to your favorite website builder.
Since your restaurant will be in a new location, you figure you’ll give it a domain name fitting of its new stomping grounds. Instead of adding the city name before the dot, you spot a new option you’ve never used before and decide to go with it — a local domain extension. Local domains allow users to feature their location in their domain name without adding it before the dot.
“If you want to localize for a specific area, you might want a domain that appeals to the city. So you could have New York, Boston, and the other places your business inhabits. And you could use that strategy to target people in your local area,” said Alexandra O’Keefe, Senior Marketing Manager at GoDaddy Registry.
As the #1 domain provider in the world, GoDaddy owns a massive portfolio of domain names and provides various services that help users register and sell names. Its domain registry includes a search category for geographical domains so users can create names with cities as their top-level domain extensions.
Geographical Domains for .NYC, .Miami, and Beyond
Domain names have changed a lot over the years. During the internet’s infancy, the Domain Name System had yet to evolve and only had a handful of domain extensions. As time went on and the internet grew, countries started to get their own domain extensions, and new domain names emerged.
“In the last 10 years, people started applying for generic domain extensions. So these days, we have a lot of options – nearly 1,000 domain extensions to choose from,” said Alexandra.
Alexandra specializes in local city extensions at GoDaddy Registry. Customers can choose from geographical domains for any major city where their business operates. Some of these geographical extensions include .NYC, .Sydney, .Bayern, and .Boston. Alexandra said the rules for applying for these extensions vary by city. So some extensions may be restricted to people who live in the location while others may be accessible to everyone.
Another trend Alexandra has seen is that people are leveraging geographical top-level domains for specific businesses popular in a region. For instance, New York City has a vibrant food scene and is one of the world’s design capitals. So designers or restaurant owners looking to stand out can use a .nyc domain extension to show that they have a shop in the iconic city and are offering the services the city is known for.
“In New York, we see a lot of potential upcoming designers who want a .nyc domain. So it all depends on what that region is popular with. And then people seem to use that domain extension for those niche markets within that geographic area,” said Alexandra.
Geographic Domains Allow Users to Establish Authority and Branding
Domains have always played a significant role in a company’s branding. As with a brick-and-mortar store, online businesses need an address for users to find them, and domains do just that. Domains help make brand names memorable, establish credibility, and boost user engagement.
Creating a domain name with a geographical extension allows users to highlight their local presence through their web address. “It makes it easy for somebody that’s googling to have that localization, and they know exactly where you’re coming from,” said Alexandra.
Local businesses can also choose geographical domain extensions to brand themselves as the local authority of their specific offering. For example, a soap shop owner can use a local city domain to show that they sell soaps in the region, and that can help them stand out from competitors. Geographical domains also make it easier for businesses to find the name they want.
“Three-letter domains with popular domain extensions are increasingly becoming more scarce. However, with the local names, you can probably get your first choice because there’s more room there for multiple names,” said Alexandra.
Users can browse through more options and register the name they want without jumping through hoops or adjusting their company name. Because geographical domains are in ample supply, companies with multiple locations can also use them to create various websites and feature them by location. So a business can have one website for the overall brand and then localize by extension for specific areas.
“For somebody with an up-and-coming brand, it makes sense to choose something that’s new and unique, and that also tells people exactly where you are. And it has more capabilities than just having a generic domain extension,” said Alexandra.
More People Are Leveraging Both Sides of the Dot
Geographical domains are not the only domain extensions moving up the ladder. Other extensions have been gaining traction and credibility in the market, including .io, .tv, and .bio. More companies and individuals are choosing to leverage both sides of the dot and forgo traditional extensions such as .com and .net because there are more choices.
Niche domains are exploding in popularity. And local domains have joined the trend. Alexandra said the most common users of geographical domains are local bread-and-butter stores. So a local graphic designer or bakery shop owner can find great benefits in using local domains. It doesn’t have to be a multinational enterprise.
“It’s now becoming commonplace to see geographical domain extensions pop up around town on billboards and front-face signage, as well as in search results. There’s an awareness out in the public, underscoring the undeniable influence and recognition these localized domains command in both physical and digital spaces, making them a powerful and memorable choice for businesses and individuals alike,” said Alexandra.