The internet has become one of the most important marketing and branding tools for cities worldwide. In an age when Google search results often determine marketing success or failure, cities must find unique selling propositions on the net to safeguard their global digital competitiveness. In this article, Dirk Krischenowski examines how future city and regional top-level domains (TLDs), such as dotBerlin or dotParis, can become powerful marketing tools.

From 2011 onwards the US-based internet administration organization ICANN will introduce new generic top-level domains. It is expected that cities and regions as well as companies and other organizations will apply for extensions like .berlin, .quebec, .canon or .hotel.

Top-level domains with a city focus like .berlin, .nyc or .paris (so-called city-TLDs) will allow intuitive domain names such as, or to become a reality from next year. The United Nations internet Governance Forum dedicated a workshop solely to this topic at its annual meeting in Rio de Janeiro in November 2007. It is expected that the localized domain names will enhance communication, ease interaction, and make a city’s resources more readily accessible for people in that city and worldwide.

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The new Toplevel (TLD)

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