Are Nexus Requirements Good or Bad?

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.

Nexus Requirements

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.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I share this point of view. New gTLDs may cause some concerns both in terms of their real efficiency, demand from end-users as well as financial value as an investment asset. However, geo-new-gTLDs really have a chance to make internet still much more common at the level of little/local companies and entrepreneurs who are not online perhaps or just would like to emphasize their local specificy or locally-limited activities. It may pass the exam.

  2. >”Nexus requirements are bad.
    This is what killed .us domains imo.”

    Is this guy joking? There is no enforcement of the .us nexus requirement and I’m not even sure if Neustar even considers it active anymore. It is very common to find foreign whois displayed loud and clear for .us, and before I even saw simple-man’s post here I was going to post myself about .us and how one of the best .us domains is registered to someone a zillion miles across the globe. To me that’s a discouragement and I don’t like it.

    On the other hand, I partly grew up in NYC and have a strongly affinity and personal history associated with it. But now I have no true NYC nexus and am not about to engage in fraud or dishonest attempts to circumvent the requirement even though there are some people I could theoretically ask to help me with getting around it. So to me it’s a huge discouragement and disappointment to see .nyc so restricted.

    I guess you could say I have a dual position on the issue. I am against ccTLD’s that have not opted to be marketed as gTLD’s not having a strong nexus requirement, but I am in favor of city TLD’s being free and unrestricted. It may seem inconsistent to some, but I would assert that it is not. Things are not always so black and white or free of complexity. I recognize that people can feel a strong affinity for and have a strong association with a city, especially a reknown city, and so I support allowing everyone in, but when it comes to national identity and heritage and citizenship I support ccTLD’s both having and enforcing the nexus. As it is, I have already tried to buy the .us I have alluded to above to no avail, and I really don’t appreciate even having to try that with someone a zillion miles away, especially when there are ccTLD’s I would have liked to register in but would not be allowed to because I’m from the US.


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