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May 8th, 2018

.brands Spotlight: Germany

Germany is home to 36 of the world’s .brand TLDs, placing it third behind the United States and Japan, and represents more than one-third of the total .brand domain registrations – more than any other region in the world. With significant representation from the automotive industry in particular, usage of .brand domains in Germany provide a great model that other organizations can use as inspiration for implementing some of the innovative strategies that these TLDs provide.

Key statistics

Total domains registered

Total TLDs

Average domains per .brand

Proportion of active TLDs (more than 2 domains registered)

Proportion of active domains (resolving or redirecting)

Region rank by domains registered








Key use cases

One of over 100 redirecting staff domains from DVAG, which forwards to a profile page for financial advisor Annett Weigel.

One of several master websites from Audi providing a simplified path for people to locate and contact a dealer near them by navigating visitors to individual .audi dealer websites.

A live social media feed or ‘hub’ collating posts from the global drainage company’s social media profiles.

A promotional and competition site for consumers to win a pair of the limited-edition sneakers designed in conjunction with BMW’s new X2 vehicle.

Industry Spotlight:

Germany’s automotive brands drive registrations and usage

In Germany, the automotive industry is the largest sector, with sales in excess of €423 billion in 2017 and employing around 820,500 people. German-based Volkswagen Group is one of the biggest global car manufacturers and along with its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche, represent some of the world’s most recognized automotive brands.

Germany is known as a hub of innovation and development in the automotive sector, and German-made cars are in demand around the world. As such it is no surprise that with such a culture of innovation, Germany’s automotive brands have been some of the earliest and most enthusiastic adopters of .brand TLDs. Their potential for branding and marketing, supply chain consistency and streamlined customer touchpoints are just some of the reasons .brands may appeal to this sector in particular.

Some of the top automotive users of .brand domains include Audi, which uses its .audi TLD in a wide variety of ways for geo-targeted marketing, campaign and promotional pages (see our .brands Spotlight on Audi for a deep-dive into its .audi strategy and read Ryan Baker’s analysis ‘How Audi’s .brand approach aligns with its tech-driven business strategy’); BMW and subsidiary Mini; and MAN trucks.

See our Spotlight piece on the Automotive industry for more on how this sector uses .brand domains.


Redirects strong in German brands

Strengthened by a few market leaders, the use of redirecting or ‘vanity’ URLs is particularly strong in Germany, with 63% of all automotive .brand domains redirecting to existing web content. That’s in comparison to 16% resolving to actual websites and 21% not resolving.

Financial advisory business DVAG (Deutsche Vermögensberatung) is a big player in this space, with 91% of its registered .dvag domains redirecting to existing content on its corporate website, as well as other locations (such as fb.dvag which takes visitors to DVAG’s company Facebook page). With over 1,600 .dvag domains registered in total, this is a great example of how a redirect or vanity URL strategy can support a volume of .brand domains without requiring new content, extensive site setup or website restructures.

The ACO Group is a German-headquartered, multinational company specializing in the manufacture of products in the construction and building industry. While it has created a number of stand-alone sites on its .aco TLD (such as draindesign.aco and follow.aco), three-quarters of its .brand domains redirect to other locations.

Europe and .brands

As we wrote in our .brands Spotlight on France, the prominence of European brands among the top users of .brand domains prompts the question of why they are so heavily represented in this space, despite the relative size and volume of .brand TLDs in the United States and parts of Asia.

France, Germany and the United States make up the top 3 geographic regions by .brand domain registrations, despite the fact that France and Germany contain 25 and 36 total TLDs respectively, compared to the U.S’s 245.

While there are likely countless reasons behind this trend, one suggestion may be that Europe’s greater reliance on country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) like France’s .fr and Germany’s .de may mean European internet users are more ‘primed’ for domains other than .com.

While .com is still the most widely used TLD, its lessened ubiquity in Europe may mean this region is more prepared to consider other, unique extensions online.


Germany emerged as an early leader in .brand registrations and usage, with significant support from the country’s famed automotive industry. As a region, usage is very high with more than two-thirds of its total .brand domains resolving or redirecting to live content. Compared to other regions around Europe and the world, Germany serves as a great case study into differing models of .brand adoption and usage, and will no doubt continue to be one of the world leaders in this space.

*This article was originally published on MakeWay.World in May 2018.

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