City TLDs: Insights and Opportunities

City TLDs: Insights and Opportunities

With mDI, we have access to so many insights at our fingertips.

A little over a week ago, we were chatting informally about which untapped opportunities we saw with nTLDs, especially city domain extensions.

So, instead of speculating we put mDI’s powers to work. Analyzing thousands of sites and answering some questions we wanted to explore.

What’s the story here? There are unexploited opportunities and undiscovered insights for those commercializing city TLDs that will help them sell more of the right things to current Registrants (instead of spamming them with one-size-fits-all messaging), and target the right segments for acquisition.

We didn’t want this to only go over descriptive numbers - we want to highlight the unexplored opportunities available to city TLDs.

For this project, we analyzed 5 nTLDS: .BERLIN, .MADRID, .NYC, .MIAMI, .LONDON.


Digital Inertia

We started of course with an important benchmark - how many sites on these domain extensions are actually active, developed websites?

Turns out, not that many.

We have a benchmark against an average ZoneFile, showing about 66% active sites.

However, not one of the city TLDs we analyzed have more than 26.5% of their websites active.


Extension Success Stories

While a little disappointed with the sheer volume of Parked sites, we looked at the profile of the Top 20 sites on these TLDs.

What do they have in common? They have a high Success score on mDI (A number between 0-100 that reflects the success or maturity of a website.

The score takes into account values like number of pages, organic traffic, ranking in search engines, update frequency, etc.) and there are some patterns in the type of audience they target.


Moving away from the very top sites, we also got a snapshot of the overall success levels of the domains on these particular extensions.

The way we do this is by using the success score mentioned above, and categorizing the sites:

.BERLIN was the only domain extension we analyzed where over 75% of the websites have a Low Success level.

Additionally, even compared to an average Zonefile, Low Success sites are overrepresented in this TLD.

This can indicate a struggle with SEO related factors, and affect perceived value and satisfaction with the TLD itself from Registrants or potential Registrants.


Fortified Cities

Strongly related to a site’s online success and visibility is its level of Security. There are many low and medium security sites among the city TLDs, which is about average in our experience.

However, it’s in Security where a lot of opportunities lie - to help the Registrant by offering them extremely relevant products and services.


The SEO Edge

From 40%-60% of all these city sites were on a Medium level of SEO.

The way we calculate this is using our own proprietary SEO score, which is a number between 0-100 that reflects how optimized sites are for search engines (and is updated weekly).

Then, we categorize them into the following levels:

Not one city had an alarming level of Low SEO level sites, but don't let the "Medium" level fool you - the sites on this level have a lot of work to do.


Need for Speed

Also closely linked to online visibility and SEO is site performance. When we look at Performance levels, what we’re doing is taking the Performance score, which is a number between 0-100 that reflects how fast websites load (it’s updated weekly in mDI).

Then, we categorize them:

The only TLD with over 20% of sites performing slowly was .MADRID.

Upon closer inspection, there were some CMS platforms showing quite a few sites with performance issues.

This is the perfect opportunity to understand and act on the barriers that are making website owners’ digital journeys difficult and affecting their online visibility.


Different Faces of City Websites

After looking at the more successful sites on each TLD, we wondered what the general profile was of the websites.

What industry or sector were they in? What types of websites are really using these domain extensions?


It's clear that nTLDs for cities are uniquely positioned as the most locally relevant domain extension for any business.


There are massive opportunities here to run hypertargeted campaigns - not only to convert local businesses and personal sites to a city extension, but to detect the type and industry of any website to determine which nTLD is the best fit for them, and then offer it to them.

In total, mDI enabled us to answer 11 questions which you can see in the full report along with many more details and charts individualized per TLD.


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