The Luedke Collection of Geographic Domain Names
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Carolina.SC) — This site aims to promote tourism, charity, and local pride in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Its launch is set for August 2021, when the Luedke Family will relocate to Spartanburg.
However, its exact-match domain name, Spartanburg.SC, is just one part of a collection of geo domain names that encompasses much more than the Upstate’s Hub City.
The countries and cities represented by these internet addresses have hundreds of millions of people. Many of the domain names exactly correspond to the appellations of cities and countries in Africa and Latin America. The entire collection appears at the bottom of this page (skip to domain name collection) , but prominent examples include the capital cities of Tanzania and Honduras in the .com domain: Dodoma.com and Tegucigalpa.com, respectively.
Also showing up among the .com’s are the capital city of Chiapas (Tuxtla.com) and the new summer capital of Egypt (NewAlamein.com), a massive new tourism city on the Mediterranean coast aspiring to rival Dubai.
Of Nigeria’s 36 states, fully half of them appear on Luedke’s list of .com’s — meaning he represents over 100 million Nigerians. (Nigeria is Africa’s largest country, in terms of population.)
The second largest city in Mexico (by GDP), a global city and the capital of Nuevo León, appears with Mexico’s widely-used national domain: Monterrey.mx. Also appearing are the capital city of the State of Mexico (the country’s most populous state), Toluca.mx, and Mexico’s main tourism city on its Pacific Coast, Acapulco.mx.
These Mexican domain names using the .mx are examples of country code top level domains, or ccTLD‘s, which include .de, .uk, .es. and .fr. Only ccTLD’s have two letters — a major advantage. In domain names, in general, shorter is better.
Although almost everyone assumes “shorter” merely denotes the number of letters in a domain name, that is not the case. Brevity and simplicity also involve the number of brain cells that must be engaged. “Nashv” might indeed be shorter than “Nashville” in terms of letters, but the former requires an explanation about “ville” being abbreviated, while the latter can piggyback on the braincell that already records the normal spelling of the city. The former requires the forging and retention of new brain cells. This refinement of the concept of shortness can be denoted as “brain cell brevity.”
Guatemala.gt, purchased by Luedke in 2019, is in a category of its own for several reasons. A sovereign state and the largest country in Central America by population, Guatemala’s large capital city shares the same name. Both sides of the dot — known as the first level and the second level — have the same meaning, and thus reflect each other. Because one idea encompasses everything, Guatemala.gt is the shortest possible domain name according to the standard of brain cell brevity.
Of course, it’s not as if exact-match country names were a dime a dozen. Most countries use them as their official government portals, e.g., Canada.ca or Deutschland.de.
Moving forward, Luedke intends to expand his network of promotion of tourism and charity to encompass all of these countries and cities. Although he has sold some names in the past, that is not his primary purpose nor his original intention. (His contact info can be found at the bottom of this page.)
Why would anyone want an ultra-premium geographic domain name? Can't I just add an extra word or two to find something available, use a lesser-known domain like .info, or just stick to my social media page?
An exact-match ultra-premium geo domain name does several things. The site exactly represents a city, state, or country. Everyone knows that everyone else can see the same thing. Thus it buys instant social credibility: one has a strong foundation — a solid claim — to speak for, report on, or otherwise serve that location.
As anyone who has ever tried to get a job (or a girlfriend) knows, first impressions are huge. To use the dating analogy: a geographic “category killer” domain name is like pulling up in a new Lamborghini… instead of a 1990 Geo Metro. To use the job applicant analogy: it’s like having “Oxford” on your resume… instead of a Cracker Jack online certificate.
Oil and gas-rich Equatorial Guinea, Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, is represented in the Luedke Collection: GuineaEcuatorial.com
Nevertheless, those aspects of a first impression do not paint the whole scene. A severely-disfigured wealthy suitor could still lose out to a handsome and charming (but financially inferior) rival. An Oxford graduate with prior arrests for child molestation could lose out to an honest and qualified community college alumnus.
In other words, the perfect domain name is an important aspect but it’s far from the only element of a successful site and online identity. An undeveloped landing page will accomplish little, regardless of a domain name’s inherent quality.
Social media obviously has tremendous power and should be engaged, but best practice dictates that it be used in conjunction with an independent brand identity. The domain is how people remember the brand. Completely burying the brand underneath a Silicon Valley behemoth means being a tool and sometimes getting lost in a sea of unrelated content.
One’s site is one’s safe base. It’s where one has total control. One can serve up content via a multitude of formats, or link to other platforms when one chooses.
Social media companies have proven themselves to be profoundly unreliable in several respects. Anonymous and unaccountable decision makers unpredictably change algorithms, reduce visibility, move goalposts or change them entirely, and even ban users without good justification. Of course, over time, preferences also move from one platform to another as audiences respond to trends.
Surprisingly, in 2020 there remains very little choice in obtaining an ultra-premium domain name. For example, if one wants the “perfect” domain name to represent Paris, one can choose either the ccTLD for that country (.fr) or the .com. Yes, some options like .info or .net are available — but no one denies those are vastly, manifestly inferior imitations. (Paris.fr is actually reserved by the French government, so .com is really the only choice.)
A few years ago, companies tried to introduce hundreds of novel domains: new generic top level domains, or ngTLD‘s. These names include options like .coffee, .city, .Africa, .community, etc. However, their corporate registries opted for a greedy and short-sighted plan of flexible “premium pricing,” whereby they can unpredictably change renewal prices for individual users, instead of charging every customer the same amount.
If a ngTLD registry notices the success of a specific site, it can bounce that domain name into a higher “tier” and suddenly jack the customer’s annual renewal fee from $15 to $10,000 or more. Partially because of this pricing scheme worthy of Shylock, the entire population of new domains (christened “.crap” by Rick Schwartz) remains a flop and merely reconfirms the primacy of ccTLD’s and the .com. Another problem is the relatively long length of most of the ngTLD’s and users’ unfamiliarity with them.
In terms of ccTLD's, what are the main considerations?
For starters, not all countries are equal. The .SD domain name, for example, might sound perfect for a South Dakota-related site (e.g., SiouxFalls.SD), but remember the source. The domain technically designates Sudan, an unstable country. In five years some new dictator might change all the rules governing .SD domain names.
On the other hand, stable, business-friendly democracies like Mexico (.mx) and Guatemala (.gt) constitute viable alternatives that are arguably better than .com for their respective markets. Although it has fame globally and especially in the United States, .com is one letter longer than the ccTLD’s.
Especially for geographic domain names (e.g., Monterrey.mx), a matching ccTLD allows for “both sides of the dot” to harmonize. A .com, on the other hand, remains irrelevant, awkwardly sticking off to the side: like a well known but obnoxious piece of imported plastic.
Despite its graceless appearance, an exact-match geographic .com domain name still retains considerable value simply by its quality of default domain; that is, people sometimes type “.com” by accident, even if they would acknowledge the aesthetic and intuitive superiority of the ccTLD equivalent.
Depending on the country, ccTLD’s are not necessarily even an option. The Luedke Collection includes Tegucigalpa.com, for example, but the government of Honduras has reserved Tegucigalpa.hn for itself (although it’s not using the domain).
Tanzania has restrictions on online freedom of speech and it doesn’t allow registrations under .tz anyway, although third-level registrations are allowed (using multiple dots such as .co.tz). Thus, for a “perfect” domain name for the Tanzanian capital, especially if a producer wants freedom of speech and future certainty, Dodoma.com has no competition from any ccTLD.
Sometimes a little creativity suffices to get around ccTLD restrictions. For instance, the municipal government of the industrial capital of Honduras, San Pedro Sula, uses SanPedroSula.hn as its site, while the Luedke Collection includes the much shorter, more practical SPS.HN. These five letters constitute the shortest possible way to designate the city. (Even typing “SPS HN” into Google brings up all of that search engine’s information about the metropolis.) Because the Honduran government didn’t think to reserve the city’s widely-used acronym, it was available for private registration.
Nigeria (.ng) is a case where the government has banned geographic domain names, with the exception of government sites using the third level under .gov.ng. (However, in shady fashion, the Nigerian registry accepts payments for geographic domains, but then leaves registrations in “inactive” status, meaning the .ng domain names remain useless.) Someone in Imo State or Rivers State might want to show national pride by registering ImoState.ng or RiversState.ng, but it’s prohibited. The only premium choice is .com.
In addition to the above considerations, one must also look for possible residency requirements and other prerequisites. While some ccTLD’s like .mx and .gt are freely available to be registered and traded by anyone, other countries limit registration to citizens, require trademark registration, or impose other limitations. Registrars like 101domain and Marcaria will sometimes provide a “trustee service” to get around this, but that means that the buyer does not technically own the domain name: a dubious proposition if one really intends to invest years of effort into a project.
I see a name in the Luedke Collection that I don't recognize. That means the rest of the world also has never heard of it, right?
There exist no obscure designations in the Luedke Collection. There are no superfluous words, nor appellations that do not correspond to the local language of the given country. One might not know, for example, that RD Congo is the local short form name for DR Congo in the official language (French), but 90 million Congolese know. One might not know that Congo-Brazzaville is the conventional short form name (in French or English) for the Rep. of the Congo, but everyone who’s familiar with the country knows.
One might not know that Ayiti means Haiti in Kreyòl, the local language, but all literate Haitians know how to spell their country’s name. One might not know the name of a city in Colombia or Egypt, but that city could have a large economy and substantial regional renown. Thus, Google (or any search engine) is an ally in making sense of the Luedke Collection.
(† = capital city)
Dodoma.com † *
Guatemala.gt † ‡
Lomé.com (IDN) †
MGM.AL † ⸶
Monterrey.mx † ☦
MountHampden.com † ⸸
MtHampden.com † ⸸
NewAlamein.com † ☨
* Capital city of the United Republic of Tanzania, population 60 million, projected to have 100 million by 2040 (UN). Same spelling in English / Swahili / French / Spanish / German, etc. Only six letters and no complications with accents, hyphens, or multiple words.
‡ Exact-match domain name for Central America’s most populous country; its capital city also has the same name. The first level of the domain name denotes the same meaning as the second level, which is extremely rare. Guatemala City is classified as a global city on par with Osaka and Lagos.
⸶ “MGM” is the airport code and common abbreviation for Montgomery, AL. The city gov’t and the city chamber of commerce both use this abbreviation in their promotional materials.
☦ Classified as a global city on par with Geneva and Saint Petersburg, Monterrey is Mexico’s second largest city (in terms of GDP), with annual production above 120 billion USD. Its metro population is almost five million and it has the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America. It’s a cultural, industrial, and logistics hub connecting Mexico and the US and it has its own subway system.
⸸ Designated as the future capital of Zimbabwe
☨ Designated as the “summer capital” of Egypt, complete with a massive presidential palace and ministries compound, New Alamein is being constructed to serve as a Mediterranean tourism Mecca intended to rival Dubai. It will also have several international universities and a unique Latin Quarter.
Continents + Regions
Abuja (capital of Nigeria)
Savior of Rome – “Greater than Napoleon” (B. H. Liddell Hart)
defeated Hannibal – conquered Spain & Africa – never defeated
“Greater than Napoleon” (B. H. Liddell Hart) – defeated Hannibal – conquered Spain & Africa – never defeated