Do city-specific domains like .BOSTON have any hope?


It’s no secret that a lot of the new gTLDs are struggling. At the same time some new gTLDs have found a solid path to success with extensions like .CLUB, .LOAN, and .ONLINE seeing real interest from end-users. I’ll be honest in saying that I thought .CITY domains were going to take off like a rocketship given how valuable real estate is in New York City.

Still, we’re now years into the new gTLD program and there isn’t a single .CITY domain in the list of the top 30 new gTLDs. Today the results of the .BOSTON sunrise came out and only 170 domains have been registered. I think Michael Berkens nailed it in the headline of his post today:

.Boston Domain Extension Off To Slow Start With Just 170 Domains Registered in Sunrise

In his post Michael points out that major sports teams like the Boston Bruins didn’t bother to get their domain names and with 35 Universities in the surrounding area Harvard was the only one to claim it’s matching domain in .BOSTON. Of course, like I said above, there are no .CITY domains in the top 30 new gTLDs so I guess we can’t be too surprised.

The real question is, do .CITY domains have any hopes or are companies, sports teams, and public figures in cities like New York and Boston going to turn a blind eye to their corresponding .CITY domain? Yes, these are still the early days but jeez, I would imagine that in a city like Boston more than 170 people would participate in Sunrise.

As a domain investor all I can say is that I’m steering clear of .CITY domains for the foreseeable future, it’s pretty clear the end-user interest isn’t there and I’m guessing that out of those 170 registrations it’s safe to say that at least half were simply for brand protection, not because someone was dying to get a .BOSTON domain.

What do you think? Are we still just living in the early days or do .CITY domains really have no chance of taking off?

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Snoopy September 18, 2017, 8:21 pm

    Worldwide they have been a disaster, no demand. We have .Melbourne here and it is very rare to see one in use, .Sydney has been a flop aswell. Major organisation got their domain years ago and the only real interest is people who are already using very problematic domains or the small % who don’t know what a mistake it is to use one.

    Mostly these extensions are running at huge losses, millions lost on marketing with a very low number of endusers. Unfortunately the whole thing is being funded by taxpayers in those countries.

  • Iris September 18, 2017, 11:16 pm

    In our data at we see very little increase, or sometimes even a slight decrease in the registration of .CITY domains over the last year. For now at least, they don’t seem to be attracting too many people and it’s difficult to say whether they’ll take off later. If we look at the other new TLDs that are struggling though, I’d say there’s a slim chance.

  • Anthony Mitchell September 18, 2017, 11:17 pm

    City TLDs appear perfect for real estate brokers. Instead of putting on a for-sale sign, 123Main.Boston would be more memorable and compelling.

    Humans are an imitative species. Once we see other humans using city TLDs, we’ll be more likely to use city TLDs ourselves.

    It will take more than one major corporation to get the ball rolling, but once it starts, look out!

    • Victor Pitts September 20, 2017, 12:08 pm

      Agree. Each business that chooses to brand on their city domain, becomes a willing advocate of the TLD as they promote their business. Each win brings new wins.

      The first converts are those companies who do business primarily on a local basis. The city tlds are a good fit for them, but they must become aware that it is an option. That awareness process takes time and effort to reach a tipping point where enough websites are using the brand that it becomes a natural consideration for a new startup business or project.

      One only needs to do a lookup on Google to see the real usage of the city tlds. Search Google using site:.tld, as in or to see websites indexed using the tld. The city tlds will be fine. Aftermarket demand will develop naturally as usage continues to increase.

  • Suresh Raghavan September 19, 2017, 5:21 am

    One thing is clear all TLD’s need a great support system to grow and succeed, its easier said than done. I did think .city made more sense than many other extensions, but unless its adopted by hundreds and thousands of local businesses and not just that they should promoting it as well, for any real growth in the extension, everything else is just domainers pushing, which we know is short lived, if at all.

    Most business have ,com and their cctlds for regional targetting, We are beginning to see that gtlds are mostly a domainer driven concept and nobody checked will real end users.

  • Jean Guillon September 19, 2017, 12:32 pm

    If I had a business in Boston, I’d certainly buy one.

  • Doug Haan September 19, 2017, 3:54 pm

    They’ll all be fine. All real-estate is local.


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