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Study Shows German Internet Users Prefer Memorable Domain Names for Cities and Regions

Local Web addresses could improve relationship between the state and civil society / Survey by German ISP association eco

The majority of private Internet users in Germany favour the increased usage of local domain endings as in .city or .region in the future because the more memorable names will help them to better find the information that they are looking for. That is the core result of a representative survey that was commissioned by eco Verband der deutschen Internetwirtschaft and conducted by the market research company eResult at the beginning of October. eco is the registered association of German Internet enterprises.

The question whether Internet addresses such as www.mayor.munich or www.taxoffice.munich could help with the more efficient use of the Internet offerings of a city or a region was being answered with “yes” by 63.8% of the participants, 28.9% said “possibly” and just 7.3% answered “no”. To question which Internet address would be ideal to find the Lost & Found office (Fundbüro) in ones own city, 43% of the citizens of Munich preferred the address www.fundbuero.munich. Common addresses such as www.fundbuero.munich.de (26%) or www.munich.de/fundbuero (21%) follow with a marked distance. Almost no support (8%) is given to a general address like www.munich.de.

Close to 84% of Internet users think that regional Internet addresses will generally help to better find Internet offerings. Only 17% of Internet users feel that their usage could be confusing or that it would not be that important. Tourists in particular might find better orientation in strange towns and regions. Locals would benefit from better search results for products and services and improved access to the Internet services of public administrations.

“We can state that private Internet users want their intuition to be considered when it comes to naming web services”, commented eco-CEO Harald A. Summa. “We recommend cities and regions to take over the perspective of the user who is focused on finding easy and uncomplicated answers to his questions”. A web address should neither be so general that searching takes longer than necessary nor so complicated that no one can memorize it. The German Bundestag has, after detailed consultations with the appropriate ministries and stakeholders such as the eco and the BITKOM association and the German Cities Council (Deutscher Städtetag) stated its support fort he introduction of Top-Level Domains for cities and regions.

There are some 11 million domains registered under the German ccTLD .de. It seems obvious that, as the penetration grades continue to rise, the available name space is not sufficient any more. Cities, public authorities and commerce have a strong demand for information that can be found in an easy and quick way. Local Internet addresses that care for the intuition of users could solve this problem.


The participants were selected on the basis of the AGOF-Internet users’ profile. AGOF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online-Forschung) is the body recognized in Germany as setting the standards for Internet research. A total of 1,814 users from the 15 largest German cities finished the questionnaire; 975 persons have reliably answered all Period. The poll took place from October 4 to October 10, 2007.

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By Dirk Krischenowski, Founder and CEO of dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG

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jeroen  –  Nov 2, 2007 9:27 PM

Short summary: Please stay out of the roots if you want something to be done in GERMANY (.de) instead of the WORLD (.)

Technical solution for the people requiring this behaviour: echo “search de” >>/etc/resolv.conf

as for the text:

Oh boy, I think I am repeating myself again about this nonsense called .Berlin and .Munich or Muenchen. or München. How are you wanting to writeit in DNS exactly?

Local people tend to writeMünchen not munich, so I am really surprised that the questionaire apparently contained “www.fundbuero.munich.”, which should be “www.lostandfound.munich.” then if you are going to completely English examples and indeed German people love to have every English word translated into their own form (Hauptprozessor anyone? Reading the German edition of the C’T is always good for a couple of good laughs there).
It should have been “www.fundburo.münchen” if you where going anywhere near that anyway.
Based on this I already think that the complete survey or your summary of it is bogus.


Gives me the MAP of where it is and a lot of other information. While I would have to guess first if it is.

Please realize that URL’s are for computers, not for human beings. Yes, they will remember a few of them, but not the ones they never use. It is like phonenumbers, you store them in a book and look them up: use a search engine!

You also state: “975 persons have reliably answered all Period.”

What does ‘reliably’ mean here (or ‘Period’ for that matter), that they answered the questions the way that the organization who sponsored this questionnaire wanted it?
Or did they get a 20 of these things and when they always guessed the right thing it was ‘reliable’?

Isn’t 975 people a wee bit on the small side when you have “11 million domains registered under the German ccTLD .de.”. Not even thinking of the fact that 975 people is only maybe 975 / 6.600.000.000 * 100% = 0.0000000147772% or so of the world population and that they are making an advice for the world, not only for their local part of it.

Was that actually mentioned in the text that DNS is global and isn’t affecting only their local world? Do they understand the technical and political consequences?

Those 975 people exactly who do they represent, are these technical people or are these people who have no clue whatsoever and never heard about the concept of hierarchy or how the internet works?

How where the all these questions asked anyway?

Did these people realize that the Internet is Global and that there are multiple “Munichs”. A good example, taking the munich case from above. Is http://www.fundbuero.munich the district of munich or only the city? Or is it the city in North Dakota? What about foreign people wanting to find the Lost & Found, will there also be a http://www.lostandfound and a http://www.kwijtengevonden and a lot of other languages in DNS? That while a search engine could easily tell you where to find it, as it understands translations for you.

Where they also asked if they use Google or other search engines to find their information?

It is always fun to see these surveys being made, especially when then the sponsoring entity brings it to light and they have an interest in these results.

I love the arguments given in (http://dip.bundestag.de/btd/16/045/1604564.pdf) which btw for every body who didn’t get it is just a proposal from a small group of people, not an official document, not something that was agreed on and also not law or advice from the government at all; even though it might seem like that because of the domain. (Btw do you also want a http://www.bundestag. or might that end up being :)

That documentalso nicely raises the real point where all of this is about: the money. Because a TLD will most very likely simply get people to register domains again under that TLD (got to have them all) and that thus creates money out of thin area for something silly as a single short database entry. I agree it is a great business model, but is it something that you want to burden the rest of the world with just because you where to late to register the equivalent .de domain?

Thanks for the non-news though.

Norbert Mayer-Wittmann  –  Nov 13, 2007 9:34 AM

This simply shows how little most people understand anything having to do with the internet.

It’ almost like arguing for .ebay because people can’t seem to figure out that the URL is ebay.COM (or ebay.DE or ebay.FR).

If/When each city has significantly different laws than other cities in the same state / country, then that might be an argument for creating different domains for each city…—note that I did not say “may”, I said “might”.

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