NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers now face a digital real estate dilemma: whether or not to get a .nyc web address.
The city officially launched .nyc last Wednesday, allowing people and organizations with a physical address within the five boroughs to purchase the top-level domain (TLD) for between $25 and $40. In the weeks leading up to the launch, the city held a landrush period, in which .nyc domains were available at a premium price of $75.
"We feel very strongly that if you launch something in New York City it is carried throughout the world," said Debra Strougo Frohlich, the co-founder of Row House, which is also planning to move its gym website to rowhouse.nyc.
She said the company's pride in its New York City roots — Strougo Frohlich is also a born and raised New Yorker — compelled the company to be one of the first to jump on board the .nyc initiative.
Below, experts offer advice to consider when deciding if the new domain is good for you or your company.
You can get a .nyc domain and keep your original URL.
Marketing expert Bob Knorpp believes every business with a physical New York City address should apply for a .nyc, but that doesn't mean the current website should be moved to the new domain. Instead businesses can use the .nyc address to redirect traffic to their original website.
"It is an incredibly valuable domain so any business would be crazy not to get it," he said. That value comes from its exclusivity, according to Knorpp. For example, a .berlin TLD can be bought by anyone, but for a .nyc the city requires each person or organization to prove it has a physical address in the city.
Buy .nyc domains that have keywords relating to your business
A business could also use the city's new TLD to snap up valuable words that were taken long ago in the .com category.
Ann Sullivan, a professional organizer, is the proud new owner of organizer.nyc and homeorganizing.nyc as well as a handful of other words that relate to her business, giving her an option for a short and more memorable web address.
"I feel that in some ways I am getting ahead of the market and then [I will later] determine what I will use and then either give it back or sell them," said Sullivan, comparing the new TLD movement to the past trend where phone numbers were marketed as a word, such as 1-800-Dentist.
Consider how a .nyc domain will impact your ranking in search engines.
If a business gets a .nyc TLD "Google is not going to give you a better ranking," said Andrew Delamarter, director of search and inbound marketing at the New York City-based agency Huge.
He said at the moment Google does not prioritize the words in domain names, but gives the higher ranking to the searched terms that are found within the content of a website.
Both Delamarter and Knorpp said this could change in the future.
“It [Google] is trying to find the most authoritative link,” said Knorpp. As the .nyc is highly curated for only those based in New York City he said it is likely that search engines will eventually prioritize businesses with a .nyc for searches about or within New York City because of the exclusivity of .nyc.
Businesses considering moving their website to a .nyc or any other domain need to be prepared for a drop in traffic, according to Delamarter. Over time, a specific web address gathers authority in search engines through citations and inbound links. Without a proper strategy on a transition, this ranking can take a hit, said Delamarter.
So far, businesses that have transitioned to a .nyc have not reported a drop in search ranking, according to Jeffrey Neuman, the vice president of registry services of Neustar, the .nyc registry service provider.
"You always want to have a good transition plan so you are not just abandoning your old name and deleting it the next day," he said.
Is your brand identity tied to your location?
A business should only make .nyc its domain name if "it is intrinsic to their marketing that they establish they are a New York City business," Knorpp said.
For MISTER, a branding agency, emphasizing its New York City location is a powerful tool. That's why it has made mister.nyc its central domain — to borrow from the city's reputation for creativity and fashion, according to managing partner and co-founder Daniel Doebrich.
"It is something that is very important to us to show that [New York City] is where we take our inspiration from," said Doebrich, adding that it is common for international clients to seek out branding agencies because of their New York City location.
So far MISTER has advised four of its clients, including a restaurant and an image-licensing agency, to adopt a .nyc domain as their main web address, Doebrich said.
Freelancers or sole proprietors also need to determine how important an overt New York City connection is to revenue, according to Knorpp.
"The important distinction is whether being located in [New York] is a deciding factor for whether you will win a contract," he said. A graphic designer who can work remotely may have a different answer from a costume designer or actor who wants to tap into the city's theater scene, Knorpp said.
The .nyc domain could attract local collaborators.
Since the city has made the new domain exclusive to New York City organizations and residents, a .nyc can help build relationships with other local and like-minded businesses.
"It shows that you have a proximity to other businesses especially in your sphere or your vertical," Doebrich said.
Dreamland, an agency that helps people "build their dreams" through brand identity, design and motion video, intends to apply for a .nyc web address, according to William Coles, a co-founder and managing director. Attracting topnotch collaborators with creative minds from around the city is a key motivation.
"We are very locally based and we really only work with locally based designers and photographers," Coles said.
The .nyc could be problematic with an expansion.
Before making .nyc its main domain, a business should consider what its goals are. A .nyc domain could become restrictive if offices in other cities are under consideration, Doebrich said.
Jeff Orlick, a Queens resident who leads food tours around the city, has bought realpizza.nyc as a landing page for his smartphone app, which maps out New York City's best pizza. However, he will not be swapping out his .com for a .nyc in his main website iwantmorefood.com.
"I don't want to be just in New York," said Orlick of his food tours, commentary and consulting.