dotParis Launch was officially launched to the world this week at a prestigious event held by the Ville de Paris at the Eiffel Tower. NetNames was there as one of only 4 accredited registrars to help the first 100 ambassdors or pioneers go online with this geoTLD.

With the launch of over 600 new extensions as part of ICANNs ambitious programme of widening the consumer choice on the internet, many eyes have been turning to the city or geoTLDs as perhaps some of the most valuable for corporates and small businesses to invest in.

The Ville de Paris, backed technically by afnic set out on their specifc journey 3 years ago, so this was the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and belief in the project and their city. As part of ICANNs programme, it’s possible for each applicant running a new extension to ‘withhold’ 100 names for their own usage and promotion. The Ville de Paris decided to open this up for what they called the pioneer programe.

In December 2013 they invited large corporates associated with the city, small or medium enterprises and charitable organisations to apply to be a pioneer. The brief was simple – ‘apply and tell us why you think you should be a pioneer and what your project will be’. The last part to this statement was the most powerful – applicants must have a solid reason for getting and using their .paris domain name – something which to date has been sorely missing in some new extensions (lots of registrations but not as many active websites).

The annoucement of the pioneers came in February 2014 and with it some of the expected names linked to the city but also some surprises. One of the most pleasing aspects was that the Ville de Paris, had deliberately made sure that several names would be held back for the benefit of the city such as and not just opened up to the highest bidder.

The launch party itself was both a celebration of the TLD but also of the pioneers, their creative ideas and a reward to everyone involved. The major of Paris Anne Hidalgo was there to open the proceedings and gave a moving speech about how .paris was more than just a technical revolution for Parisiens and businesses but Paris was as much a symbol or brand in it’s own right. To own a .paris is to say much more than just having a domain name for the city.

I believe it’s fair to say that Paris like London has a rich history and both for example are synonymous with fashion and both are synonymous with shopping. London has a deep cosmopolitan culture and diversity across the city. Paris is known as the city of romance. Both can be considered ‘brands’ in their own right and as such, to own one is saying much more than ‘I do business in this city’. If you look at some of the advertising around .london as well as .paris – it’s about pride in the city, pride in what it stands for and what it hopes to become with owning their own extensions.

The pioneers now have a clear 6 months of exclusive usage for their domain names and every one has a website up and running. Many of these sites are innovative such as by SoLocal Group or

The impact to using the .paris extension is also tangeble with regard to SEO, if today on you type Spotteo, the first result is a link to their application launched with the .paris site in the iTunes store. Two further results are Twitter and then you have itself.

The Sunrise period for .paris will be in September this year when the rest of the TMCH holders will be able to apply for their domain names. The value in investing in a geoTLD or city TLD is tangible but it comes back continually to usage and doing something with that asset.

Our advice is simple, take the time to create a strategy around the new extensions, block, buy, monitor. Then, once that strategy is defined, execute upon that strategy and make full use of it’s potential. The new extensions are as much about keywords as a brand or company name itself. If you’re struggling to make sense of the 600+ extensions now at your disposal, call the experts, we’re here to make the complicated simple.

Written by Gary McDowell, Directeur Général at NetNames France.