This article continues our examination of GEO nTLDs – new domain suffixes, released since 2014, that describe a city, region, nationality, or ethnicity. Data is derived (after much slicing and dicing) from nTLDStats.
Last time, we found that domain registrations for most GEOs are overwhelmingly concentrated in a single home country – .LAT and .IRISH being 2 exceptions. Now that we’ve analyzed the distribution of GEOs across various countries, let’s look at the significance of GEOs within national borders.
|Country||# TLDs||% GEO||Local||GEOs|
|South Africa||4||35.8||Yes||.CAPETOWN, .JOBURG,
|Hong Kong||2||0.4||No||.CYMRU, .WALES|
The country whose nTLD registration volume is most dependent – by far! – on GEOs is New Zealand. .KIWI alone accounts for 91.8% of all nTLD domains registered in that country. However, this aberration is the result of a controversial registry campaign, in which some 200,000 .KIWI domains were registered suddenly. We therefore ought to ignore .KIWI for statistical purposes.
Overall, Europe is unquestionably the GEO nTLD capital. Out of a dozen nations where 8% or more of registered nTLD domains are GEOs, only 2 – South Africa and Australia – are disconnected from the greater European region (including Russia, Turkey, and the UK). Europe’s predominance is partly a result of supply, not demand. Registries designed more GEOs for European markets than anywhere else: 27 out of 45 ranking GEOs correspond to this region.
After the .KIWI disqualification, it seems the high water mark for GEOs is roughly 1/3 in both South Africa and Belgium. Close behind, Germany and Austria see 1/4 of their nTLD registrations go to GEOs. Crucially, each of these nations is home to multiple local city GEOs. Yet they all participate by registering GEOs corresponding to other countries too.
To guarantee a large GEO footprint, is it enough for a country to be targeted by several local GEOs? Nope. Just look at the USA, which encompasses .NYC, .VEGAS, and .MIAMI. For whatever reason, GEOs in the USA account for only 3.3% of registered nTLD domains.
With hundreds of English keyword nTLDs clamoring for attention, one could argue that language and oversupply have played a part in diminishing the American GEO footprint. Then again, english keywords apply equally to the UK, where GEOs claim a 17.4% share – more than 5 times higher than the USA. Residency requirements for .NYC are undoubtedly a limiting factor.
Here’s a question: Are GEOs more or less successful than non-GEO nTLDs? If we look at total registration volume, we’ll see a chasm between the 2 groups: 26,694,862 non-GEOs compared to 889,579 GEOs. Thus, only 3.2% of registered nTLD domains are GEOs. What does that really tell us?
First of all, GEOs are outnumbered – 62 GEO nTLDs versus 1151 non-GEOs. Hold on, though. Doesn’t that mean 5.1% of nTLDs are GEOs? In that case, GEOs are underperforming with only 3.2% of registrations, right? No. Unfortunately, it’s absurdly simple for companies to manipulate registration volume. With 1-penny domains and registrar stuffing, .XYZ, for instance, greatly inflated its volume. .BERLIN also jumpstarted its total with large-scale freebies back in 2014. The most inflated nTLDs, being the largest, greatly distort these statistics or, at least, undermine their reliability. Consequently, we must try something else.
Alright, which nTLDs rank well in national top 100 lists? (nTLDStats tracks the biggest 49 registrant nations.) Out of 62 GEOs tracked by nTLDStats, 45 of them have charted (72.6%). In comparison, only 344 out of 1151 non-GEOs (29.9%) are anywhere to be found in those country rankings – even with 4819 chart positions for 49 countries. By this standard, GEOs are outperforming non-GEOs in striking fashion.
Is such a test fair? Well, it’s fair in the sense that it highlights the kind of success GEOs aim to achieve – large local presence somewhere in particular … not everywhere. .BARCELONA ought to be judged by its footprint in Spain primarily and not measured against the worldwide volume of .CLUB or .SITE or .VIP. In the previous article, we saw that 11.6% of ranked nTLDs are GEOs. Considering only 5.1% of nTLDs are GEOs in the first place, it could be said that GEOs are over-performing by a factor of 2.3. But GEOs are doing even better than that!
|Best Rank||GEOs||non-GEOs||% GEO|
Returning to those national top 100 nTLD lists, let’s record the best ranking found in any country for a given nTLD. Accordingly, there are 15 nTLDs that rank #1 somewhere among the most active 49 registrant nations. 6 of them are GEOs. For a different set of 15 nTLDs, #2 is their best ranking. Of those, 4 are GEOs. And so forth.
For cardinal rankings #1 through #7, look how high the percentage of GEOs is! At the very top of national lists, 21.4% – 45.5% of nTLDs are GEOs. To be exact, if an nTLD peaks at #1 – #7 somewhere, then there’s a 35.6% chance it’s a GEO. Remember, only 5.1% of existing nTLDs are GEOs. So they’re overrepresented at the very top of national lists by a factor of 7.
More than 1/3 of ranked GEOs (1/4 of tracked GEOs) peak at #1, #2, or #3. More than 2/3 of ranked GEOs (1/2 of tracked GEOs) peak between #1 and #7. (Once again, for reference, 62 GEOs are tracked by nTLDStats; and 45 of those have charted.) It’s surprising how rarely GEOs fail to reach the top of the charts. 11 peak between #8 and #50, and only 2 peak between #51 and #100. That’s 93% of the dartboard; but, among the nTLDs stuck there, only 4.3% are GEOs. For 299 non-GEOs, a ranking of #8 – #100 in some country is the best they can boast of. Another 807 non-GEOs haven’t managed a #100 ranking anywhere at all.
Referring again to the first table, GEOs have charted in 33 countries out of 49. Although .PARIS ranks in Thailand and .LONDON ranks in Greece, let’s set aside countries where the ranking GEOs aren’t local. That leaves a small set of 19 countries with ranking local GEOs. In these cases, GEOs perform very well as fractions of the country’s total registration volume: Median = 10.9%; Q1 = 5.6%; Q3 = 23.4%.
If every country had access to a handful of local GEO nTLDs – as South Africa, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Australia, and the UK now have – would those nations replicate these high registration rates? It’s a fair question. If more nTLDs are released in a few years, there’s a rational case to be made for including more GEOs among them.
Ultimately, of course, registration volume cannot be trusted as an indicator of TLD success. Without quality registrations meant for usage, volume may be nothing but a speculative bubble or an inflated registry promo.