Sites specifically about Berlin can go live with .berlin as their domain name from March 18th. Paris, London and New York are among 50 other hubs to be getting their own version soon, but Germany's capital will be the first.
Campaigners Dotberlin have been pushing for .berlin to be released for use since 2005. “Domains are descriptive, not just cryptic abbreviations like .org or .com,” said Dirk Krischenowski from the group.
For just €30 to €60 per year, a city domain name will allow international firms to separate branches in different places and, for example, allow tourists to narrow down their search for things to do, he said.
Support has also come from the trade association of Berlin and Brandenburg. “Berlin addresses can now be a trademark for our city and for companies based here,” organization head Nils Busch-Petersen told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
International tech company ICANN is responsible for smaller organizations arranging city domain names. Their policy states that the move has to be signed off by the local government – which Berlin's senate did.
Money paid for the privilege will, in part, go back into the state. It is expected to raise around half a million euros this year, and €750,000 the next.