The sign outside Schiphol airport is big enough not to miss. "Amsterdam" the 5ft high red and white letters spell out. It's crying out for a tiny addition. A dot. Right at the start. DotAmsterdam. It rolls off the tongue but alas like so many other city's who own their own Top Level Domain, nobody seems to have been thinking outside the branding box.
With 23,000 registrations so far dotAmsterdam has been one of the most successful geoTLDs launched so far, although almost half appear to be registry reserved names. Whilst not yet on a par with dotNYC or dotLondon, the take up of the TLD has certainly underlined the fact that the Dutch are very plugged into the use of localised domain names - the dotNL ccTLD is the sixth most registered ccTLD in the world in terms of volumes but on a per capita basis it is the most successful TLD (bar the free dotTK).
However, a walk around the city and you can't see much evidence of the Top Level Domain in use. Despite owning the respective domain, Schiphol airport, one of the busiest in Europe is still not using a dotAmsterdam, nor are one of the most famous football clubs on the continent, Ajax which is still owned by the registry along with other names that could be associated with the city, 'red light district', 'canals' and 'bicycles'.
One famous slogan is however in use. Tulipsfrom.amsterdam resolves to a live website although not perhaps selling what you think it should. Nevertheless, it is a live website as too is the world-famous Van Gogh Museum (vangogh.amsterdam).
In terms of usage, the highest ranked domain in the Alexa top 1 million websites is the impressive offering from globally renown agency, J Walter Thompson (www.jwt.amsterdam). Also on the list are Museumnacht.amsterdam (Museum night), tedx.amsterdam (a TED event taking place on the 27th November) and restaurant directory bourgondisch.amsterdam.
Like most city-related new gTLDs, finding iconic names and brands that are willing to adopt the new name space has been tough. The story seems to be the same wherever we go. Without usage consumer understanding is limited and without that understanding there is no compelling event for other brands to jump on board. The city has a strong international image. Owning a dotAmsterdam Top Level Domain should be a no-brainer for any brand serious about representing the city.