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Top 10 Most Successful Digital City Brands 2019

Katrin Ohlmer

Dotzon presents the results of their "Digital City Brands 2019" study. In the third edition of "Digital City Brands" after 2017 and 2018, Dotzon analyzed which factors determine the successful use of Digital City Brands.


The Digital City Brand mirrors the "Digitalness" of a city

The Digital City Brand is the digital dimension of the City Brand and mirrors the "Digitalness" of a city. 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. City marketers appreciate them as a valuable tool for city marketing purposes and campaigns (e.g. www.visit.rio) and as a unique destination proposition in the global competition of places. For digitalization and Smart City initiatives, Digital City Brands have become a meaningful tool as well.

But the Digital City Brand is much more than a mere extension of the City Brand as it plays an important role in strengthening the emotional bond between a city and its inhabitants. The Digital City Brand provides a reliable local anchor that is opposed to a city's constant changes and progressive digitalization. Even though the latter makes citizens independent of space and time, it causes a desire for belonging and localization at the same time. As a digital meeting place, the Digital City Brand has the power to satisfy these yearnings.

Analysis of eight key performance factors

We analyzed which factors determine the successful use of Digital City Brands. Eight factors have been taken into account, in order to rank the 42 global Digital City Brands: the number of registered domain names, the annual sales volume, the number of active domain names, the number of domain names per 1,000 inhabitants, the number of pages per domain listed at Google, the gross domestic product per domain name, the number of domains listed in the Alexa Rank alexa.com and 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 sum of the eight individual rankings constitutes the ranking of the Digital City Brands in 2019.

Top 10 Ranking of Digital City Brands 2019

1 .berlin
2 .tokyo
3 .hamburg
4 .vegas
5 .koeln
6 .amsterdam
7 .nyc
8 .london
9 .wien
10 .gent

The study shows that .berlin remains unchallenged at the top, followed by .tokyo in second place and .hamburg in third place. This year's newcomers in the Top 10 are .wien and .gent. From the Top 10 of 2018, .ist/.istanbul, .moscow/.mockba and .miami dropped out.

Summary & Outlook

The dynamics of cityTLDs is also reflected in the growth rates: Within the last 12 months, the number of cityTLD domains grew from 609,000 to 637,567, which is a constant upward development that stands in contrast to the stagnation of many other top-level domains.

Digitalization, e-government and Smart City continue to be the key drivers for the development of cities and thus a major focus of the city administration and city marketing. The IT infrastructure of a cityTLD will play a vital role in the communication of cities towards their stakeholders and as a digital place branding tool.

Last year, cities already started to deepen their knowledge and experience in the field of digital branding and initiated a number of innovative projects like www.nybg.nyc, www.be.berlin and www.verkehr.koeln. This year, a number of new projects will supplement the already existing ones and thus serve as fresh role models for even more frequent and intense use of the new communication possibilities. We expect more and more cities to catch up with this development so that next year's Digital City Brands will include a number of newcomers again.

Interested parties can order the detailed study (in German) via info@dotzon.consulting.

By Katrin Ohlmer, CEO DOTZON
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