It's been awhile since we've had a look at the success of some of the GeoTLDs that have been launched under the new gTLD programme, especially as the chatter about a second round is now getting louder. What better place to start than with the most registered GeoTLD, dotNYC?
The suffix is head and shoulders above any other GeoTLD, with dotLondon approximately 14,000 registrations behind. That is quite an achievement, especially with the strict Nexus requirements on who can register a dotNYC. Nearly 75,000 entities own a dotNYC and it is still the fastest growing GeoTLD. The registry website, www.ownit.nyc has dozens of examples of organisations who have adopted the new gTLD for their businesses including Panorama.nyc (official website for the Panorama Music Festival taking place in the city in July), Digital.nyc (a one-stop shop for any new digital companies who need advice or funding) and Shubert.nyc (official website of the Shubert Organization who own 17 Broadway theatres). There are 15 other dotNYC domain names that feature in the Alexa top 1 million sites, with digital.nyc being the highest ranked at 190,335.
However, walking around the city you see little evidence of an adoption of the new gTLD (in fact any evidence of any new gTLDs). DotCom still appears to be King in these parts. That is the key to really driving the success not just of the TLD but the whole programme as a whole. Whilst there are some big registration numbers originating from China in gTLDs such as dotTop and dotWin, they are not yet translating into domains in use, which does devalue the impressive numbers to an extent. Currently around 47% of dotNYC resolve to parked pages, which is significantly lower than dotTop and dotWin (both around 87%). The key to increasing the adoption of dotNYC is getting some of the most visible brands and attractions using the Top Level Domain.
Whilst some domain names will be held back by the registry for future use, some well-known domains have been registered but as of yet aren't being used, or have fallen into the hands of potential intellectual property infringers. One of the most iconic and recognisable visual identities for New York is the "I Love NY" logo, designed nearly 40 years ago by graphic designer Milton Glaser. However, the domain name ilove.nyc is currently not being utilised. One of the most famous sporting brands in the world is the New York Yankees, yet whilst Yankees.nyc is registered to the MLB (Major League Baseball), the name does not resolve to any live content. EmpireState.nyc is registered although the fact it resolves to a GoDaddy parked page would suggest that it's not owned by the Empire State Reality Trust. Their official website is esbnyc.com but Esb.nyc is owned by a third party individual.
Whilst registration numbers continue to grow, the TLD is still waiting for the tipping point to be reached. The work undertaken by the registry has so far been impressive - few registry websites contain more compelling reasons to register and use new gTLD. All that is missing is one major, recognisable brand to adopt the suffix. With a second round slowly coming over the horizon a number of other cities will be considering an application. Any move to increase consumer awareness today will lead to benefits tomorrow for the whole community.