Arguably it is the extension that kicked this whole new gTLD thing off.
On March 18, .BERLIN will launch into the General Availability phase. 777 years after the city was founded, any business, organization or individual can register Internet addresses under .BERLIN.
Worldwide, this marks the first time a city receives its own new top-level domain. More than 3.4 million Berliners will be given a new home on the net.
According to InternetX, “Even during the pre-registration phase, .BERLIN was one of the most popular TLDs among the 600 new gTLD with only .SHOP and .WEB getting more pre-registrations.
About 150,000 Internet addresses like berlin.hyatt.com already include “Berlin”.
Large corporations such as Air Berlin bear the capital in their names.
Thanks to the new TLD, long domain names or cumbersome hyphenated constructions are now a think of the past.
The idea of an own top-level domain for the German capital has been on the table as early as 1999.
It wouldn’t be until 13 years later however, that ICANN announced an application process allowing for the introduction of new TLDs and liberating the domain name space.
In January 2012, the dotBerlin GmbH finally submitted the application for .BERLIN.
On January 8, 2014 www.nic.berlin launched as the first page with a .BERLIN ending. This was followed by a Sunrise period which started on February 14, during which trademark holders have preference to secure .BERLIN domains. From the March 18 on .BERLIN registrations will be open to all interested parties.