The «European mecca for the high-tech industry» – as Bill Gates calls it – is preparing the ground for its very own extension : dot BAYERN. In fact the light is already shed on Bavaria (bayern in German) in the economic arena thanks to the unrelenting growth of its exportations which exceed those of countries such as Brazil, Switzerland or Austria. No wonder Bavaria will get even more attention from investors once it starts using its own top level domain (TLD).
An Initiative from the Bundestag
It all started in 2007 when the Bundestag – the German Parliament – urged the Bavarian Federal Government to promote the creation of the dot BAYERN regional TLD as part of their contribution to the ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).
The DOT Bayern Registered Association (Dot Bayern eV) was then founded by two outstanding figures of the German legal practice and the domain name industry alike : Markus Eggensperger, board member of the leading German registrar United-Domains AG (200 000 customers ; 1,3 million registered domain names) and Markus Bahmann, one of the founding members of the dot BERLIN project.
Bavaria wants to emerge as the avant-garde of modern governance through making access to its various online administrative services simpler to its citizens. Hence, a domain name such as steuern.bayern (Inland Revenue in German) will make it easier for Bavarians to find the appropriate tax return to download. It is unlikely Bavarians will be more eager to pay their taxes, but at least it will take them less time to do it. It will also save the Bavarian administrative services time as they will have less claims to deal with. Bavaria’s dot BAYERN project however goes beyond this political goal as the German region also covets a wider economic recognition.
No visibility for the 20 000 .bayern.de domain names
So far Bavarian companies have been registring third level domain names using the word Bayern e.g. bosch.bayern.de. There are today more than 20 000 of such domain names, a surprisingly high number compared to the 36 000 domain names registered under the .CAT regional extension for Catalonia since 2006. However according to the conclusions of a study carried out by Dot Bayern eV this strategy proves to be inefficient.
Indeed German internet users are not at all familiar with third level extensions and hardly ever use them when looking for a specific website. If the Bavarian companies were to use the dot BAYERN TLD – e.g. hotels.bayern- they will get shorter domain names which will be easier to remember, less likely to be misspelt and most importantly better indexed on search engines. Mind you the .BAYERN is not meant to supercede the .DE TLD for Germany. On the contrary it is supposed to round it out helping Bavarian administrations and companies get more visibility among Bavarian citizens as well as international investors.
Bavaria : a Key Economic Partner
On the website of the Regional Ministry of Trade, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology (http://www.stmwivt.bayern.de) Bavaria boasts its wide variety of economic partners worldwide.
Hence in 2007 Austria came first with a 27.4 % share of total trade, followed by the USA with 25.1 %, Italy 22.1 %, France 18.1 %, Great Britain 17.1 % and China 16.2 %. It is no wonder that all these countries and others will be following the progress of the .BAYERN TLD project carefully. So far the initial costs of the projects amount to the ICANN fees but the public prices have not yet been disclosed nor were the registration rules. Needless to say mailclub.info will be the first to keep you posted once you will be able to browse through your favourite website using fc.bayern!