A new generic top level-domain (gTLD) will be launched in the fall of 2015: .swiss. The Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) will administer this TLD that can be bought from organizations in Switzerland.
Why is there a new TLD .swiss?
In 2012, the ICANN created new gTLDs. The Swiss Confederation requested and got .swiss as a new gTLD and assigned its administration to the OFCOM, with the goal of providing this label to the Swiss community as a marketing tool.
What is the difference between .ch and .swiss?
Every natural and legal person can buy a .ch domain. The principle of “first come, first served” applies. In order to request a .swiss domain, specific conditions are required and the allocation is based on predefined rules.
Who can buy a .swiss domain?
Organizations that can apply for a .swiss domain are:
- Any public sector body
- Corporations or artificial persons registered in the Swiss Commercial Register that have their registered office and a genuine administrative site in Switzerland
- Other Swiss organizations under public law.
For generic terms like for example hotel.swiss, there will be a naming mandate: The organization that best serves the general interests of the whole country will get the domain.
When will the .swiss domains be available?
The .swiss domains will be implemented in two stages:
1. Launch phase (“sunrise” period): 7.9.2015 – 9.11.2015
During this phase it is possible to register domain names associated with the public sector or domain names that correspond to brands that are registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse or the Swiss Register of Trademarks.
2. General Availability: from 11.1.2016
From that date, any organization with an office in Switzerland can apply for a .swiss domain. At the moment it is not planned to make the domains available for private persons, but this could change in the future.
Where can I buy a .swiss domain?
You need to submit the request for your .swiss domain to an accredited registrar or reseller. Shortly before the introduction of the domain, there will be a list of all providers on dotswiss.ch.
It is important to keep in mind that you cannot immediately purchase a .swiss domain but it is handled as a request. All requests are published on nic.swiss for 20 days. During this period of time, other organizations have the possibility to submit requests for the same domain name. If there are several requests, the OFCOM allocates the domain based on the following criteria:
What is the price of a .swiss domain?
The registrars decide how much they will charge for a .swiss domain. The registry OFCOM charges CHF 90 per year for a domain name. Additional costs apply for naming mandates for generic terms.
What are the benefits of a .swiss domain?
A .swiss domain communicates Swissness and is a good choice for Swiss exporting companies that want to highlight their Swiss origin internationally. While .ch is a well-established TLD in Switzerland, it is not very familiar internationally and not associated with Switzerland.
How does a .swiss domain impact SEO?
The impact of the new generic TLDs on search engine rankings is still unknown. The country-specific TLD .ch is a strong geographical signal and remains a good choice for organizations targeting people in Switzerland. For organizations with international targeting, generic TLDs are the best option and .swiss can be a good choice from a marketing point of view.
Do you have questions or remarks about the .swiss TLD? Feel free to send me an e-mail.