Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2005-02-28

.de Domains

Ever since I moved to Munich, I've been struck by the large number of TLAs in Germany, and also by the strange subdomains.

.de has no official subdomains, so people have invented both geographical subdomains and topical subdomains. Good examples are -muenchen.de for anyone located in Munich (bit-muenchen.de, bja-muenchen.de, bjv-muenchen.de, bk-muenchen.de and so on) and -derfilm.de for movies (austinpowers-derfilm.de, etc).

Recently I came across a complete list of .de domains, so I started counting. Which TLA is the most popular? Which German "city subdomain" has the most domains?

Popular TLAs

All the TLAs are registed. When the natural TLA is taken, people have different strategies:

Add hyphens. There are 8111 domains like t-l-a.de.

Add -web or -online to make sure that people understand that not only does the company have a domain, it's even online! There are 6930 tla-online.de domains and only 1984 tla-web.de ones.

Add the company abbreviation. 5000 GmbH TLA companies have opted to call themselves tla-gmbh.de etc, outnumbering -ag (1535) by a wide margin. Only 347 GbRs registered tla-gbr.de.

Add the city name, ie. registering tla-muenchen.de instead of tla.de. In the big main German cities, Berlin leads the way with 2765. The next cities are Hamburg (1412), Munich (862), Cologne (852), Bremen (737), Hanover (648), Dresden (632), Stuttgart (595), Leipzig (589) and Frankfurt (549).

Most German cities appear to have approximately one TLA per 1200 inhabitants. Extrapolating from that, a million people live in dreamland (9412 tla-clan.de domains). and about 300,000 people live in someplace called Bielefeld.

Add the industry's name. No less than 671 German publishers have domains like tla-verlag.de. Web designers (730 tla-webdesign.de), ad agencies (543 tla-werbung.de) and IT companies (547 tla-edv.de) also don't suffer from an overdose of imaginatin.

All of the above sometimes. m-a-d-wohnungsbau-gmbh.de is an example. I'm glad to say there are few of these.

Adding all these up, I find around 90,000 three-letter domains in the .de zone.

The most popular TLAs (counting ones in the above categories) are: WEB (35 domains out of 37 possible), SEX (34 domains of 37), PRO (34), JOB (34), BAU (33), ART (32), ABC (32), VIA (31), EDV (31), VIP (30), UNI (30), 123 (30), WWW (29), TOP (28), TCM (28), MAC (28), KFZ (27), COM (27), STB (26), NET (26), MCS (26), ITS (26), IBS (26), BUS (26), ASB (26), ACS (26), AAA (26), SOS (25), SMS (25), PSA (25), NLP (25) and IBB (25).

Some of those are words or other non-TLAs. But I suppose Germany's most popular TLAs must be on that list. To take a random example, IBS is registered as ibs-berlin.de, ibs-bremen.de, ibs-consult.de, ibs-consulting.de, ibs-deutschland.de, ibs-direkt.de, ibs-edv.de, ibs-essen.de, ibs-ev.de, ibs-frankfurt.de, ibs-germany.de, ibs-gmbh.de, ibs-hamburg.de, ibs-immobilien.de, ibs-info.de, ibs-it.de, ibs-koeln.de, ibs-leipzig.de, ibs-marketing.de, ibs-muenchen.de, ibs-online.de, ibs-shop.de, ibs-stuttgart.de, ibs-technik.de, ibs-verlag.de, ibs-werbung. Several of them belong to companies called Innovative Bsomething Ssomething.

Big Cities

Of course TLAs aren't everything. Some Germans do register other domains. Here are the counts for the biggest geographic subdomains: Berlin: 26421, Hamburg: 12289, Muenchen: 8409, Cologne: 8007, Hannover: 5644, Bremen: 5362, Dresden: 5001, Leipzig: 4790, Stuttgart: 4774 and Frankfurt: 4754.

Seems that about 10% of domains in the -berlin.de domain are TLAs. The smaller cities are a little bit above 10%.

States

-bayern.de is used for 3995 domains. Not very much. Even -frankfurt.de is more used, and Frankfurt is not very big compared to Bavaria. Both -deutschland.de (8179) and -germany.de (5646) are used more than -bayern.de.

A few other states' names are used (2038 -hessen.de, 3137 -sachsen.de, 4490 -nrw.de), but most apparently are not. Perhaps because the names become oeverly long. There certainly aren't very many -schleswig-holstein.de or -mecklenburg-vorpommern.de domains.

Topical Domains

I mentioned -derfilm.de. The most popular domains of that kind are -shop.de (26183 domains), -service.de (19634), -net.de, -design.de, -portal.de (5609 portals! wow!), -art.de and -versand.de. (And of course -verlag.de and the other industry names.)

Words

The most popular other words, independent of location within the domain name, are shop, in, service, web and immobilien.

Count

My list contains 7682004 domains with an average length of 17 characters (including .de). Some average-length examples: tla-kaufbeuren.de, tierrechtebund.de and wiewaresdort.de.

I cannot tell what the domains are used for. I did a few random lookups to see if I could spot any interesting patterns, but gave up when I discovered that perfekt-blowjob.de was used for management coaching. I suppose.