GoDaddy, the world's largest domain registrar, will kick off a marketing campaign Monday to rebrand .la as the Web suffix for Los Angeles.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., company believes geographical-based Web addresses are the next big thing for its sales of Internet domain names, and .la will be the first Web suffix, or top-level domain, GoDaddy markets in this way.
Web addresses using the .la suffix have been available for purchase since the late 1990s, but GoDaddy, which sells more than 50% of new domain-name registrations, didn't add it to its catalog until June 20, after partnering with CentralNic, the company that handles the database for .la Web addresses.
Once GoDaddy begins marketing the suffix on Monday, it expects .la sales to explode.
"When we carry a TLD [top-level domain], it moves the needle," said GoDaddy's Rich Merdinger, vice president of domains.
Later this year, more Web addresses using city-based suffixes may become available after they are approved by the organization that governs domain addresses. Already, New York City has announced that .nyc Web addresses will become available to its residents later this year, and other cities are vying to receive their own suffixes.
But GoDaddy is able to sell .la addresses now because the suffix is actually the one assigned to the country of Laos. Each country has its own Web suffix -- the U.S., for example, has .us -- and these top-level domains have been around for decades.
In recent years, however, Web addresses using some countries' suffixes have begun to receive more registrations as companies like GoDaddy market them for certain uses. For example, .co for Colombia is marketed toward companies, while .tv, for the country of Tuvalu, is often registered by websites that focus on video. Another, .me for Montenegro, is commonly registered by users for their personal websites.
Now, .la is set to join those ranks.
GoDaddy said it plans to market the suffix using billboards and online ads targeting users in Los Angeles.
"We are going to really be pushing and presenting out to the citizens of Los Angeles that they have a new domain extension that is really ripe for use in promoting their businesses in southern California," Merdinger said.
GoDaddy is selling .la addresses at $39.99 each per year. But some addresses that may be highly in demand will be auctioned off for much more. Users will be able to bid on premium names like inside.la, sets.la as well as historic.la and scenic.la starting at $100 on Monday.
"We think the opportunities for geographic TLDs will be phenomenal," Merdinger said.
Because GoDaddy began selling .la addresses a few weeks ago to make sure there were no glitches with its new domain names, the company said there have already been some purchases.
"There are some names that are already taken, but there's an awful lot of good names that are still available, such as moviestars.la, acting.la, etc.," Merdinger said.