There is a thread in Google Product Forums’ Webmaster Central forum asking about TLDs being treated as generic. Although the question doesn’t specifically appear to be about ICANN’s new gTLD program, it garnered a response from a Google employee who mentioned the new domain extensions.
According to John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, “we currently treat the new TLDs as gTLDs, even if they sound like they may be region-specific (eg .berlin).” This is interesting to note, although I don’t believe it is unexpected. Mueller continued, “If, over time, our analysis shows that they’re clearly limited to only websites from those regions, that might be worth reconsidering. In the meantime, you should be able to set geotargeting manually for these TLDs.”
As you may already know, Google has a list of domain extensions it considers generic, even if they are country code domain names (ccTLDs). For instance, .CO and .ME are considered generic TLDs, which means you don’t need to be in Colombia or Montenegro to see those specific TLDs in your search results, and companies that use the TLDs that appear in the list will have their websites shown right next to other websites that use .com, .net, .org…etc.
If you buy geotargeted domain extensions like .London, .NYC, or others, you should keep aware of any Google changes that may impact your domain names. Should this policy change for any of the domain names, it could impact the value of them since there could be visibility limitations in the future.
Thanks to Barry Schwartz for bringing this to my attention via Twitter.