I believe that geographic new gTLD extensions are going to be successful. Cities have a built-in audience of businesses and residents who may wish to purchase their business or keyword domain name in their local extension. There are two different approaches to selling their domain names, and one involves limiting sales to entities within the geographic area and the other involves selling domain names to anyone. I am curious to know your thoughts on which is the better approach.
.NYC domain names will only be available to people who have a physical address in New York City. According to the .NYC registry website, “The City of New York desires to have only those individuals or entities having a substantive and lawful connection to the City be permitted to register for .NYC domain names.” On the other hand, .Vegas domain names will be available to anyone who wants to buy them. According to an email I received from the registry team, “.vegas is completely unrestricted, meaning anyone, anywhere in the world may register a web address with a .vegas extension.”
I think there are pros and cons to both approaches. I want to discuss my thoughts on the pros and cons and open it up to you to offer your thoughts.
Only permitting local businesses and residents to purchase geographic domain names should help the registry with local adoption. If local businesses are the only ones who can buy these domain names, it’s probably more likely they will be developed by businesses. Development probably means greater adoption which leads to more domain names being bought and developed. This likely means a lower attrition rate and a healthy registry. It’s also easier to market these domain names within a specific geographic area.
Closing out non-residents or businesses from registering domain names limits the registration base. One can assume a city would be large enough to sustain the registry, but if businesses don’t opt to rebrand their current urls or develop new websites, there could be trouble. Additionally, it could be possible for “outsiders” to game the system and register key domain names, which would defeat the purpose of the nexus requirement. Who’s to say whether my NY-based and registered company (currently doing business in MA) is actually within the guidelines if I use a legitimate mailing address for an employee or someone associated with my company.
No Nexus Requirements
There are many people who live outside of a geographic area who have an affinity to the area and might want to show that connection by registering a local domain name. In addition, there are businesses who operate within a geographic area but may not have a physical location in the area. If there are no nexus requirements, these people can buy the domain names of their choice. Finally, without a nexus requirement, an entity outside of the area may choose to create a business on the domain name, which may ultimately help build the gTLD “brand” while generating revenue for the city. Allowing anyone to register domain names will increase revenue for the registry.
The best domain names will need to be protected more vigilantly to ensure that they end up in the hands of people who will develop them. Local businesses may get frustrated with the fact that they aren’t able to buy their own domain name if someone outside of the area buys the domain name first. If local businesses aren’t developing these domain names, it might be difficult to build the brand locally. Additionally, having “outsiders” own and operate these domain names could cause trust issues with the domain names.
I am curious to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons of nexus requirements for geographic new gTLD domain names.