shutterstock_143902213Young consumers, especially Millennials, use technology to represent and identify with location, whether by using apps that provide location-specific search results and allow customers to become the “mayor” of a business, or by tagging their present location when posting to Facebook or Instagram.

Businesses can use domain names as another tool to capitalize on the draw of geography: .GEO generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .NYC or .LONDON may help businesses, government agencies, and citizens to improve their local online marketing campaigns.

The Growing Appeal of .GEO Domain Names for Local Online Marketing

With 451 new gTLDs now live, .GEO domains are already gaining strong market share. Extensions like .BERLIN, .TOKYO and .LONDON have found themselves among the Top 25 new gTLDs based on total number of domains registered (as of this writing).

GoDaddy has even launched an interactive map where consumers can search domain names based upon geographical location (http://geo.godaddy.com), which may continue to present .GEO domains as appealing options for entrepreneurs and local enthusiasts.

Using a .GEO Doman Name to Improve Local Online Marketing – Some Examples

Being a Bostonian is much more than geography: It’s an identity. It’s being a die-hard sports fan and being “wicked smaht.”

It makes sense, then, for businesses looking to attract Bostonians to harness the enthusiasm for that identity in their local online marketing efforts. And for that, businesses have the option of using .BOSTON.

The Boston Globe applied for the .BOSTON gTLD with the hope to become the central registry for businesses that wish to broadcast their Bostonian identity. Now, businesses can be proud to embody their city’s spirit and show that pride by using a .BOSTON domain name.

Another example, half a world away, is ZA Central Registry. ZA Central Registry, which previously managed .CO.ZA, is expanding to include gTLDs such as .AFRICA, .CAPETOWN, .JOBURG, and .DURBAN.

The goal for .AFRICA on a much larger geographic scale: .AFRICA aims to showcase cities in Africa as ideal tourist destinations and utilize this opportunity for growth and development within Africa.

In both cases, though, a .GEO gTLD is being used to foster and communicate a strong geographic identity that can strengthen a business’ ties with consumers.

What is the Risk of Not Having a .GEO Domain Name?

In a word, cybersquatting.

While gTLDs such as .BOSTON and .AFRICA hope to be a boon for their geographic locations, scammers are already buying up .GEO domain names containing brands in order to take advantage of Internet users. At best, scammers will just put up ads to make money off of the traffic that may come to the site, and at worst, they can set up phishing schemes that can put consumers in harm’s way or harmful content that can damage a brand’s reputation.

Should Your Business Consider a .GEO Domain Name?

.GEO domains do not make sense for all businesses – there are few local online marketing tools, if any, which are one-size fits all. However, it’s important for businesses to consider the marketing and brand-protection benefits a .GEO offers, whether they are small, local businesses or larger corporations.

Domain names are 21st-century real estate with the same attachment that one feels toward a physical “home” or “hometown” to that of a “homepage.” Think about whether a .GEO domain will speak to your authenticity and make your consumers feel welcome and secure.

Samantha Demetriou

Samantha Demetriou

Vice President, Consulting Services at FairWinds Partners
Heading up the consulting team gives Samantha the 50,000-foot view on trends in brand approach to the domain name space. Here, Sam covers common missed opportunities and creative new solutions cropping up in business.
Samantha Demetriou
.GEO Domain Names – A New Tool in Local Online Marketing

3 thoughts on “.GEO Domain Names – A New Tool in Local Online Marketing

  • June 20, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    Great article Samantha. Shared this with a few of my clients. Especially loved the connection drawn between Africa, tourism and international development. Will be interesting to see if/how GEO extensions influence search rankings in the future.

    Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 10:04 am
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    .Geo domains do let businesses, brands and startups connect with local markets, Its not a substitute for .com, but has a purpose, its own identity and isn’t confusing. .Com Net and Org .xyz and .Top aren’t cities and .NYC .LA and .Berlin aren’t trying to be global tlds, but segmented tlds.

    So not a Class of 2014 New GTLD exactly, perhaps the oldest of the bunch is a shared cctld .LA. Marketed in Los Angeles for Angelenos, and those aligning themselves with the #1 City Brand worldwide (Guardian)

    We keep a list of the built and operating sites up and running using .LA Golden Road Brewery (GoldenRoad.LA) and AllAccess.LA and Innovate.LA are some examples

    https://www.pinterest.com/dnresale/la-domain-names-la-websites-and-use-cases/

    Some other benefits of a Geo City Tld.

    Even though forwarding to segmented pages (ie Mapping.LA is a Los Angeles Times Property that forwards to a .com), building a full site on a .LA increases the percentage of local content within a URL, showing the world and search engines a LOCAL FOCUSSED .LA website. With Geo Posting of content, posting and building a local site, from a local presence will become best practice i believe.

    More form google here on options to Geo-Locate and GeoTarget

    From support.google.com

    “ but the URL itself provides human users with useful clues about the page’s content. ”

    So its a pre-visit first impression. Designers and Digital Marketers talk about the small window you have to engage a user, why not start beforehand with a “makes sense” url.

    More about .LA at ilove.LA

    As a cctld its sunrise period never existed, wide availability still exists for many brands to grab their initials or main company names, especially in areas where popular brands collide.

    Page Howe
    iLove.LA
    213-596-0382

    Reply
  • August 8, 2016 at 12:38 pm
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    Well done. We see many of the same benefits with .LA the shared TLD for Los Angeles companies to use to say globally they are LA.

    Reply

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