Applications are now being received by registrars for the new .LONDON domains, which are scheduled to come online in three months, making it one of the first cities in the world to launch its own domain name.
Starting at 5pm GMT (12 noon EST) Tuesday, the Dot London registry officially opened its “London Priority Period” which allows London businesses, organizations and individuals to get first choice of .LONDON addresses prior to the “General Availability” period.
This new domain is predicted to be popular with local business as a way to stand out online. This fits in with a theory associated with “Internet psychologist” Graham Jones that localized domains will be especially helpful for those looking for local businesses and services as more and more internet activity becomes locally focused – typically around a 6km (3.7 mile) radius.
Conducted on behalf of the Dot London registry, a YouGov survey of 1,000 London-based small and medium-sized businesses found that about a quarter of respondents said they were likely to register a .London domain. Almost half of the businesses that said they would likely register a .LONDON domain said London pride and wanting to be associated with London made them want these domains.
New domains can be reserved through a handful of Approved Premium Registrars such as 1&1, 123-reg, Enom, Fasthosts, GoDaddy, Minds + Machines, Netnames, and Tucows.
Each has slightly different pricing. For instance, Fasthosts is offering .LONDON domains at £19.99 (around $33.60) per year plus VAT and a one-off £5 (around $8.40) processing fee that goes towards the the .London registry. Web host 1&1 is offering .LONDON domains at £19.99 ($33.60) plus VAT and no application fee for the first year, but doubling the annual fee the following year.
Fasthosts GM Simon Yeoman said in a statement, “More businesses are learning that regional online identity can be a real advantage for them. London has an incredibly strong positive image both domestically and abroad, and London’s firms can now profit from this directly from their web address.”
1&1 Internet CEO Robert Hoffmann similarly stated, “.London is the most in-demand geographical nTLD for 1&1 UK customers. Businesses in particular appear very keen to capitalise on the strong identity that London enjoys. We expect that as awareness continues to rise, most London based businesses will consider complimenting their existing domains with a new .London.”
Other cities pursuing domain names include .NYC, .MIAMI, .WIEN (for Vienna), .VEGAS, .TOKYO and .PARIS, as well as .BERLIN which has received nearly 50,000 applications. These domains are expected to draws upon the specific culture, prestige, and other associations with these major cities.