Happy birthday dotWales

By Stuart Fuller


One year since the launch of the dotWales and dotCymru domain name on Saint David’s Day, the registry, Nominet has announced that there are nearly 19,000 registrations in the two zone files.  Whilst the Top Level Domains aren’t competing on the same scale as dotNYC or dotLondon, they have topped the likes of dotSwiss, dotQuebec and dotRuhr.  In addition, the TLDs have been adopted by a number of organisations in the country.

Welcoming the progress made and noting the importance of dotCymru and dotWales to Wales’ tourism offering, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said, “As we move into an ever-increasing online world, dotCymru and dotWales are ensuring that Wales stands out digitally. The news that we are keeping up with our neighbours and are now in the European Top 10 is excellent for such a small country, as is the news that keywords such as holiday and hire are the most popular dotWales addresses. Both dotCymru and dotWales provide us with a distinct Welsh presence on the Internet, taking Wales to the world and we need to ensure that the domains continue on that path.”

DotWales carries the bulk of the registrations to date with brands such as Amazon, Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru), Go Compare and S4C having registered names, although few are activity using them, instead forwarding them to their main domain name or simply using registrar holding pages. S4C has the most trafficked dotCymru domain name, whilst the Welsh Government website (gov.wales) is the most used dotWales domain name, and the only name to sit in the Alexa Ranking of the top one million websites, although the wru.wales and wru.cymru domains have the potential to break into that list with the continuing success of rugby in the region.

Unfortunately, a number of organisations who have global prominence and who would be great case studies for the registry have not taken advantage of the new Top Level Domains such as Cardiffcity.wales, SCFC.wales (Swansea City Football Club) and major Welsh-headquartered construction company Redrow (redrow.wales) being owned by third parties.

The availability of geo-based new Top Level Domains is one of the major opportunities within the new gTLD programme.  Our search habits often see us match keywords or brands with locations and whilst Google remain tight-lipped on the impact of Exact Domain Match (EDM) within search, it can do no harm to a brand to follow such a registration strategy, especially if the content is relevant to the domain name.

Last year alone there were over 11,000 new businesses “born” in Wales, adding to the approximate 92,000 active businesses in the country.  Today it is almost a pre-requisite to have a website for any business entity, and with the low availability of very established dotCom and dotUK Top Level Domains, the dotWales and dotCymru alternatives should be very attractive to businesses in Wales.

It is good to see organisations such as the Welsh Government and the major sporting institutions adopting the Top Level Domains – the next challenge for them is to actively use and promote them which should lead to even healthier growth numbers when the domains two year birthday comes around in 2017.