Webeden Blog Archive Domain Names caught short by global warming

Domain Names caught short by global warming

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Ever wondered about how global warming is going to start to affect your life? Well I bet you didn’t think it would be this! The story first appeared back in November, and it is both amusing and scary, depending on your perspective.

There’s a small Polynesian island nation called Tuvalu, nestled deep and lonely in the south pacific. It has a population of around 10,000, and unless you were a local you probably hadn’t heard of it until 1999, where the country made some headlines in the domain name space.

This is because Tuvalu’s country domain extension is .tv. Verisign saw the money making potential of this domain and they cut a deal with the government there, whereby Verisign marketed and sold .tv domain names, and Tuvalu took a share of the profits. (OK, it wasn’t quite a simple as that, but that’s how things ended up).

Since then thousands have been registered – .tv domains have never been the most popular domain extensions, but are certainly well respected. Well known ones include the official Channel 5 website five.tv.

The thing about Tuvalu is that, well, its not very tall. Just 5 metres above sea level at its highest point. And the thing about sea levels is that, well, they’re set to rise. Maybe just a little, or maybe more. But if the highest point on the island is  5 metres, its easy to see that Tuvalu may not be around forever.

So what happens to .tv if Tuvalu sinks? Well ICANN, (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), who are responsible for all things domain related have a policy on the matter. They say that if a country ceases to exist, then so does its domain extension. Users will be given a reasonable length of time to transition to another domain extension, but ultimately that will be it for .tv domains.

You may think we’re a long way from that point, and of course ICANN policy may change. But if you’ve only got a .tv domain, it might be a good time to buy a domain with a different extension now!

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