London will launch city-specific gTLD next summer, promising that businesses can benefit by association
London is set to become one of the first cities in the world to launch its own city domain names, with ‘.london’ web addresses set to go live next summer.
The city has signed a contract with the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and has invited interested companies to register for the domains through Dot London Domains in the spring.
London & Partners, the city’s official promotional organisation, applied for the domain in 2012 and says thousands of partners, such as department store Selfridges and the famous Carnaby Street have expressed an interest.
It says museums, shops, theatres and galleries can all take advantage of having a domain name that immediately locates and associates them with London, and believes local businesses have the most to gain from such a service.
“Adopting the .london suffix will enable organisations to more closely associate themselves with our great city’s powerful global brand,” says Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. “This is also an excellent opportunity to expand London’s digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city.”
ICANN began the process of offering personalised domain names last year, with Amazon and Google bidding for hundreds of generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), while the BBC and Guardian also participated in the process.
More than just money
Some have suggested the process is a money-making scheme for ICANN, which charges $185,000 for an application and $25,000 yearly charge for the winners, however Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations and communications at NetNames, suggests city-specific domains might have genuine benefits for businesses.
“This is one of the catalysts that UK businesses have been waiting for. Not only will the launch of .London help maintain the city’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy, but it will also allow local businesses to capitalise on their location,” he says.
“Similar effects are also likely to be seen for the introduction of .paris and .nyc. so savvy brands will use the introduction of gTLDs to start thinking about how new domain endings can strengthen their internet presence. In a survey of senior executives, we recently found that 37 per cent think gTLDs will provide a stronger online presence and 36 per cent believe new domain ends will increase revenue opportunities.”
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