After spending a week in Germany I think it’s safe to say that .DE > .COM there, and Dashes are in

I just spent a week in Germany, somehow after traveling Internationally pretty regularly for 15+ years I never made it there. The world is a big place and given that Sonos had a separate office and team for Europe (I focused on Asia, Australia, and Latin America) Germany never made it on my itinerary.

Now, Bold Metrics is expanding into Europe and I had my first client meeting in Germany last week and just landed in The Netherlands for another meeting tomorrow. While in Germany I noticed:

  1. It’s really cold…but not as cold as Canada which I compared the weather to on a daily basis.
  2. .DE is everywhere and it’s actually hard to find a .COM domain name anywhere

dot-de-domainsAnother thing I noticed in Germany is a strong interested in domains with dashes in them. We had coffee at a popular coffee shop called Einstein Kaffee, honestly they’re everywhere, like Starbucks in the US (or at least in Berlin they were). I was surprised to see that they didn’t have, but when I checked I realized, nobody had that domain, they wanted the domain with a dash in it and could care less about having the two-word .DE.

I also probably can’t go another day without sharing what might just be the most hilarious billboard I’ve ever seen. Spotted this on the train ride from Nuremberg to Berlin.


If you take a look at Verisign’s latest report .DE came in as the third most-registered ccTLD behind .CN and .TK with 16.2M .DE registrations. While sometimes I think to myself when I’m traveling, “I should buy some ccTLDs from this country!” I usually stop myself. The reality is, I don’t know the German language and I don’t know the German domain market, and when it comes to domains I find it’s best to stick to what you know, which for me is .COM.

That being said, I’ve met some Domainers who have done well with .DE and if you’re one of them, I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the German domain market. Also, let me know if you think my observations are correct that .DE really is stronger than .COM in Germany and that dashes are cool as a cucumber.

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Konstantinos Zournas December 16, 2018, 3:17 pm

    Eeerrr. Just because the owner is clueless and the developer a dumbass doesn’t mean dashes are in.

    And was just registered. Not by me.

    • Ethan December 16, 2018, 7:10 pm

      I don’t know if dash in domains are preferred in German. Even if it’s not, humiliating people who are in need of education is not a good idea, imo.

      • Konstantinos Zournas December 17, 2018, 7:49 am

        You describe them like some poor 6-year old in a 3rd world country.
        At this age there is no excuse for companies and developers.
        Now their domain is gone. Good luck.

    • Morgan December 17, 2018, 1:53 am

      @Konstantinos – this was based on a ton of dashed domains I saw in Germany, this was just one example. I’ve never been anywhere in the world where I’ve seen so many domains with dashes in them FWIW.

  • Suresh Raghavan December 16, 2018, 3:36 pm

    Same can be said for .ca, and possibly soon for .in / and .cn . Cctlds have a huge purpose in the marketplace.

    • Snoopy December 17, 2018, 1:43 pm and .de have always been the main extensions in those countries, and as Fizz stated dashes have always been used a lot in Germany.

      Big difference between these a, .cn etc because no single extension ever got a solid foothold in those countries. In China things are split between, .com and .cn. In India it is, .com and .in.

      Over the years not a lot changes in preferences, the key thing is what happened in the early days as that sticks long term.

  • Undaunt December 16, 2018, 3:49 pm

    If its local,I understand why but if they plan to go global,.com is it .I would stick to my sweet .com.

  • December 16, 2018, 4:45 pm

    I just quoted your article here

    I’m trying to make the point that ccTLD’s as a group are starting to outpace .com’s but debating with resellers is a lost cause.

  • John December 16, 2018, 4:58 pm

    Depending on the .com you have it makes sense if it applies to Europe to own the .de – We happen to own ( “birthday card”) in Chinese but we also own it in the .cn – I think the same would go for Europe.

  • Rob December 16, 2018, 7:32 pm

    In Mexico the “.mx” and “” ccTLDs are also used more by Local, National and International retailers than .com

    Ideally, a business would use a “.com” for their “Global” website and an equivalent ccTLD for each of their Country specific websites.

  • Dimitar Bonin December 16, 2018, 9:47 pm

    the same can be said for UK, where still holds the top positions, but here small and medium sized businesses have mind-boggling domains, such as: wilstokinternationalshippinglimited (.com)….. at least is .com

  • fizz December 16, 2018, 10:44 pm

    Yup, dashes are very popular in Germany, have been for over 15 years.

    • Morgan December 17, 2018, 1:54 am

      Thanks for sharing Fizz!

  • Den December 16, 2018, 10:55 pm

    Thanks sharing

    anyone : do Getmany could prefer dash .com over dash .de ?

    • fizz December 16, 2018, 11:21 pm

      I understand that for two and three word domains they like to use dashes in both .de or .com, but IMO would be prudent for a firm to secure domains without dashes if available and redirect to their advertised site names with dashes.

  • Francois December 17, 2018, 12:19 am

    It’s the same in France and Spanish where .fr and .es are preferred to the .com
    So I suppose the same happens for most not English spoken countries.
    AlsoI noticed, people generally prefer to use dashes because it separates words and makes them easier to read, something, this trend is still live.
    This probably explains why is harder for domain investors to make big sales out english domains, people who have the brand name “Some Stuff” have 4 plan A: the .Cctld with dash, the .Cctld without dash, the .com with dash and the .com without dash.

  • Morgan December 17, 2018, 1:55 am

    Thanks for sharing @Francois – great insights and so interesting to hear how popular dashes are in Europe!

  • Mike December 17, 2018, 3:38 am

    I think it might be worth mentioning; you can’t
    register .de domains unless you are a resident
    in Germany.

  • John December 17, 2018, 5:29 am

    It’s simple:

    .com may still be king overall by a thousand miles, but in some cases a top ccTLD domain can rival, match, or sometimes even exceed the throne.

    Speaking of which, btw, if you are still counting out .us you would do well to think again with more long term end user vision and less domain investor shortsightedness. There are already some 800,000 ton and 8 million ton commercial gorillas using it, and I was just commenting recently how I’m very confident a big billion dollar company was behind the rather covert and aggressive effort to buy one from me within the last few years and put on ice pending whatever they plan for later:

    (Scroll down to December 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm there is the link doesn’t go right to it.)

  • Ravi December 17, 2018, 9:19 am


    After reading this and also coming across the same topic previously made me to check in Namebio…

    Out of highest reported sales in
    .de 13 out of top 50 sales are hyphenated…I excluded numbers for this and all these sold at minimum price of $ 20k…one name sold twice…one with without..
    Online casinos/de &
    Both sold at $84k each within few days difference..

    Online-casino/De sold for $144k

    These show that there is acceptance for names with hyphens..but we can not say there is demand…that is entirely different one.

    Also tried to find some stats in expired domains to get some idea of the number of registered hyphenated names.. I was unable sort out how to get only hyphenated names from total names.

  • Ole December 17, 2018, 10:07 am

    Dashes and ccTLD’s are the first option to consider in Europe.
    I registered my first .com in 2000, and being from Europe went for the name with the dash inside, even with non dash version was also freely available.
    It makes easier visually to read and remember the domain with the dash for me. 2 or 3 words domains without the dash are completely unreadable, brain just refuses to understand them.

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  • John Fraites October 29, 2020, 2:07 am

    For what it’s worth, hyphenated domains must be popular in France too. As far as I can tell, the majority of French museums aside from The Louvre and a few others have hyphenated domains. A whole lot of French universities do too.


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