How hot is .brussels?

Analysis of the uptake of the .brussels top-level domain name extension

Like with real estate, it's all about the location

The opening up of the top-level domain name market in 2012 has offered new perspectives for companies, administrations and individuals to include a geographic component within the domain name of their website. Little to no research has been carried out since then to analyse the uptake of the new top-level domain names (TLDN). Based on the specific case of the TLDN .brussels, this article proposes an empirical study of how the opening up of the top-level domain name market actually impacts registration practices. By making use of freely available software tools such as OpenRefine and Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods, the entire corpus of the .brussels domain names (6300) was analysed from a quantitative perspective. Based on a statistically representative sample, a qualitative interpretation allowed for a more fine-grained analysis of how the new TLDN is being used in practice. By doing so, the article gives a detailed insight into the impact of the recent changes of the rules concerning domain name registration. Researchers, policy makers, investors and anyone who cares about the Brussels identity in the digital realm can gain through this analysis a better understanding of the state of play of the .brussels TLDN.