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DOTZON Study: Digital City Brands 2024

We’ve just published the 2024 edition of the DOTZON study “Digital City Brands.” After introducing the study in early 2017, DOTZON has mapped how successful cities are using their Digital City Brands for the seventh year in a row. The Digital City Brand is the digital dimension of the City Brand and mirrors the “Digitalness” of a city. The advent of the Internet was why Digital City Brands came into being in the first place. Because since then, City Brands no longer had to work only in the analog world but also in the digital world. However, the Digital City Brand is much more than a mere extension of the City Brand. It plays an essential role in strengthening the bond between a city and its stakeholders. The Digital City Brand promotes dialogue between the city and its inhabitants, positions the city in global competition as an attractive destination, and presents local offers and services under a common umbrella.

European capitals like Berlin, Paris, and London were among the first to have their own Digital City Brands. Tokyo, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and other international metropolises soon joined this development. Today, most Digital City Brands have been well adopted by citizens, businesses, and the city administration. Together, they count more than 167 million inhabitants and a gross domestic product of more than thirteen billion US dollars.

The Digital City Brands study is based on analyzing 35 cities worldwide with their own digital identity on the Internet—the so-called city top-level domain (cityTLDs). Taken together, they have 40 Digital City Brands, as five cities operate in two cityTLDs. Sources for the underlying data of this study are eight key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • The number of registered domain names
  • The annual sales volume
  • The number of active domain names
  • The number of pages per TLD listed at Google
  • The number of domains listed in the Majestic and other visibility rankings (Tranco)
  • The number of domain names per 1,000 inhabitants
  • The gross domestic product per domain name
  • A comparison between the cityTLD and the national top-level domain (ccTLD)

The figures used are all from public databases and local parameters specific to a city.

The study “Digital City Brands 2024” allows a head-to-head comparison of all cities with their own digital identities. The study shows that the German cityTLD .berlin again reached first place after being second last year. It is followed by .tokyo in second place and .brussels in third place. The rising star is the Australian cityTLD .sydney, which scored ninth place (coming from place 20). No longer part of the top 10 are the European Capital Cities brands .paris and .london. In summary, the trend that Digital City Brands are developing very positively, particularly in Europe, has continued: Half of the positions in the top 10 rankings are occupied by European metropolises.

Digital City Brands Ranking 2024

1st place: .berlin After a second place last year, .berlin once again takes the top spot this year. The .berlin extension was the first cityTLD ever made available to the general public. In most of the ranking categories .berlin consistently achieves very good results, e.g. the almost 47,000 domains account for a very good turnover. A good 5th place in the KPI Tranco - which represents the most visited websites worldwide - adds to the overall result.

2nd place: .tokyo

The city extension .tokyo, operated by the Tokyo-based company GMO, has once again achieved second place. With a good 180,000 domains, .tokyo is still the cityTLD with the most registered domains. For the Tranco KPI, .tokyo also achieved the top position. The fact that .tokyo is extremely popular can also be seen in the category “city extension versus country extension”: .tokyo is currently more popular in Tokyo than the Japanese country extension .jp.

3rd place: .brussels

After a two-year break, the Belgian capital was able to achieve third place in the top 10 ranking. Good positions in the KPIs Pages on Google and Tranco contributed to the ranking. A second place in the number of domains per inhabitant complements the very good ranking, as well as a good ranking in the comparison of the city brand to the national ending .be.

4th place: .hamburg

After coming sixth last year, .hamburg was able to improve to fourth place this year. With just under 20,000 registered domains, the number of registered Internet addresses has remained stable compared to the previous year. The good ranking is also due to fifth place fort he KPIs turnover and second place in the number of active domains.

5th place: .nyc

Since its launch in 2014, the city extension .nyc has become a digital home for many New Yorkers. Compared to the previous year, it has dropped one place and is in 5th place this year. The reason for the still good ranking is the very good positions in the KPIs number of domains - a good 60,000 - and a turnover of a good USD 1.3 million. .nyc also achieved a very good result in the Tranco KPI with 3rd place.

6th place: .amsterdam

The Dutch ending .amsterdam achieved sixth place this time after taking the top spot last year. The decisive factors for this are good rankings in the KPIs, number of domains, and turnover. A good 22 domains per 1,000 inhabitants and, despite a low gross national product, many registered domains domains complete the good ranking.

7th place: .vegas

After ninth place last year, .vegas is in seventh place this year. This is due to the eighth place in the Tranco KPI and seventh place in the “Domains per seventh place in the KPI “Domains per 1,000 inhabitants”. The second place for the popularity of the .vegas extension ahead of the .us extension rounds off the good results.

8th place: .koeln

Once again, .koeln is in eighth place. A good 17 domains per 1,000 inhabitants and the registration figures of 18,916 domains contributed to the good position in the top 10 ranking. Once again, .koeln took the top spot in the “gross national product per domain” KPI, contributing to the success of the cityTLD.

9th place: .sydney

The Australian ending .sydney achieved a place in the top 10 for the first time, supported by a fourth place in the number of domains per inhabitant, as well as the popularity of the .sydney city brand compared to the national ending .au. Good rankings in the KPIs turnover and Tranco round off the result.

10th place: .okinawa

With .okinawa, the Japanese city is once again represented in the top 10 ranking after last year. Instead of fifth place, it has to settle for tenth place this year. The result is due to over 57% active domains, as well as many pages on Google. The fact that .okinawa is more popular compared to the Japanese country extension .jp also contributes to the good ranking.

“In the wild” - examples of a great usage of a cityTLD

The Austrian domain of www.kultursommer.wien („Summer of Culture”) shows how well a local ending can go together with a campaign. This is also shown by the Oktoberfest in Miami, USA, which has been taking place for many years and has now found its digital home at www.oktoberfest.miami. The Berlin police use the domain www.110prozent.berlin for their recruiting campaign, pointing out what they expect from potential candidates. The Hamburg education authority uses the address www.schulbau.hamburg to promote understanding among locals during the construction of a new school building. The city of Istanbul communicates its vision for the city in 2025, in which life is vibrant and free in all its diversity, and everyone lives well, using the speaking domain www.vizyon2050.istanbul.


The areas of digitization, sustainability, and e-government will continue to be the driving forces behind the development of cities. The infrastructure of cityTLDs plays an important role here: It enables cities to communicate with their stakeholders and serves as a digital tool for location marketing and branding. We expect that more cities will use their cityTLDs even more intensively in the future so that we can present new placements.

The study is availabe for download at https://dotzon.consulting/studien. Interested parties can order the detailed study including all KPI tables (in German) via [email protected].

By Katrin Ohlmer, CEO DOTZON

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