As HEXONET continues with the introduction of interesting new gTLD applicants, this week they wanted to highlight dotBerlin (.BERLIN). HEXONET had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Katrin Ohlmer at dotBerlin recently, which is considered a geographic new gTLD and has passed ICANN’s Initial Evaluation phase. First and foremost, HEXONET thanked Ms. Ohlmer for taking the time to share her thoughts and insights on dotBerlin.
Questions and Answers:
1) Can you please highlight the mission of dotBerlin
.BERLIN will be the digital identity for Berliners on the Internet. To show products and services coming from Berlin or their personal relation to Berlin, Berliners look forward to register their .berlin domain.
With .BERLIN the history continues of uniting Berliners around the world, keeping John F. Kennedy in mind who famously said “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
2) What will be the key benefits to registrants, Internet users and others?
.BERLIN provides more intuitive and search engine relevant domain names for businesses and Berliners and helps them to direct inquiries quicker to their .BERLIN websites. Internet users will be able to recognize a service coming from Berlin or targeting Berliners by the .BERLIN domain.
3) Will there be specific restrictions in order to register a dotBerlin?
In order to be able to register a .BERLIN domain name, one of the WHOIS contacts has to be located in Berlin.
4) Several of the proposed geographic / city new gTLD applicants indicate that search engines will likely give ranking preference to their TLD compared to other TLDs. What are your thoughts on this?
Search engines display the most relevant results, and many criteria determine which websites deliver the most relevant content to an individual search. We expect that .BERLIN will be rated as being most relevant to searches for and in Berlin. Furthermore, recent announcements indicate that search engines will place heightened emphasis on the TLD in their search criteria. Also, some of them applied for many TLDs themselves, including Google.
5) Other applicants have mentioned that they intend on offering comprehensive ‘directory services.’ Do you plan on offering this and if so, can you please elaborate.
As registry we will not offer directory services. However any registrant may do so.
6) How do you plan on effectively differentiating your geographic / city gTLD to stand out against the other geographic / city new gTLDs?
We do not compete with any of the other cityTLDs, we cooperate in the so-called GeoTLD applicant group to develop best practices and strategies for the launch of GeoTLDs in common. Geographic and cityTLDs have clearly delineated target markets which are not likely to interfere which each other.
7) The number of Internet users that continue to access the Internet via mobile devices continues to explode. How do you intend to leverage this trend?
We expect to see a big shift from desktop and laptop computers to mobile devices over the next years. So we recommend any web developer deploying websites under .berlin to take this shift into account and build responsive websites. We do not expect that domain names will have less relevance because of this trend since any offering still has to have an attractive address.
8) Hundreds of new gTLDS will be launched in the months to come. They will of course be vying for digital ‘shelf space’ with various domain registrars. How do you plan on embracing the registrar community?
Since our start back in 2004 we developed many of our concepts and processes together with the registrar community and received very good feedback which we incorporated into our plans. We are therefore pretty confident that many registrars will offer .berlin domain names. Furthermore we expect that only 200-250 or less gTLDs are being relevant to most registrars and registrants.
9) When your TLD is launched, what are the key challenges / obstacles you foresee in the short term?
On the short-term ICANN is certainly the most prominent obstacle in providing a more reliable timeframe so we can better plan our launch schedule and marketing activities for .BERLIN. After launch properly managing the new TLD and utilizing the full market potential will be the key challenges.