Tag Archives: Domain Names

Archive

Dot Whatever – the big plan for domain names

There’s a big plan waiting in the wings that is set to totally transform the market for domain names.

At the moment, there are a fixed number of domain extensions. (By domain extensions, we mean the bit after the ‘dot’ in the domain name). The most popular domain extension is .com, but other big global domain extensions include .net, .org, .info and .biz. Every country of course has its own domain extension. In the UK its .uk, for France its .fr and in Germany its .de

New plans drawn up by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that overseas the domain name system, will allow the creation of domain names with any number of possible suffixes.

Here in the UK, popular suggestions for new domain extensions include .london or .shopping.

However, any company wanting to set up a domain extension is certainly not going to find it cheap. Icann plan to charge anywhere up to $500,000 per new domain extension, and there will also be a $60,000 annual fee. Any company investing in the set up of a new domain extension would of course need to recoup the cost by selling as many domain names with that extension as possible.

Icann thinks that the new domain extensions are a huge marketing opportunity for  brands. “Whatever is open to the imagination can be applied for. It could translate into one of the largest marketing and branding opportunities in history.” suggested VP of corporate affairs for Icann, Paul Lewis.

One thing that’s clear, however, is that this a potential Cybersquatting nightmare for many companies. We wrote a recent post about cybersquatting, which includes the registering of domain names that derive their value from someone else’s brand. If companies have to register their domain name in lots of new domain extensions, its going to be both costly and complex.

Lets say you’re organising the domain names for a a company called ‘Dave’s Tiling Ltd’. To stop anyone else cybersquatting on your name, you might already have felt the need to register the following domains:

davetiling.com
davetiling.co.uk
davestiling.com
davestiling.co.uk
dave-tiling.com
dave-tiling.co.uk
davetilinguk.com

and so on.

If you include the popular domain extensions (.com, .co.uk, .org, .biz, .info) it might already be costing you a couple of hundred pounds each year to keep all your domain names. If there are going to be a whole slew of new domain extension, how much more is that going to be? And when the new registries are getting charged $500,000 just to set up the new domain extensions, they’re not going to be selling them cheaply are they?

And this comes at a time of the increased incidence of cybersquatting. As reported on BrandRepublic, a record number of cybersquatting complaints were filed last year (2,300 in all), according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Big companies such as the BBC, eBay, Coca-Cola and BMW all complained about their brands being registered as domain names by cybersquatters.

In most cases of course , the complaints procedure favour the complainant, but even so there is a considerable time and financial cost for companies to recover these domains.

Wipo for its part has said that the new domain extensions should be “a genuine concern for trademark holders”.

“The creation of an unknowable and potentially vast number of new [domains] raises significant issues for rights holders, as well as internet users generally”, said Francis Curry, Wipo director-general.

Have you had an issue finding or keeping a domain name that’s relevant to your brand? Would you invest in one of the new domain extensions? Would you prefer the domain name system to stick to the domain extensions currently available? Leave us a comment below.

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Softwate Update

How to transfer domain names to WebEden

Transferring your domain name from your current domain name provider to WebEden should be easy. But the process can be as complicated as an East End heist gone wrong in a Guy Ritchie film. And what makes matters worse is that it differs between registries, the organisations who have overall control of the specific TLDs (top level domains) e.g. .com, .uk, .eu, .name, .biz, .info. The registries are the domain wholesalers.

Then there are the registrars, who are the domain retailers, better known as domain name providers who have their own rules of engagement. And still the plot thickens. Add to this tags versus auth codes, automatic domain locking, a small matter of confirmation emails and you have the dark underworld of domain name transfer.

But there is a happy ending! Read on and hopefully we’ll be able to straighten out the twists and turns of the transfer process.

The Main Issues

So what can delay a domain transfer from being processed? Frankly, lots!

•    Domain locking – Firstly you cannot transfer a domain if it is locked. Some providers do this automatically so they need to be asked to unlock the domain.

•    Sixty days – When a domain is first created all registrars block transfer out in the first sixty days. Some registrars also apply this restriction within sixty days of expiry. So you may wish to check 1. what rules your domain name provider (registrar) have around transfers out, and 2. creation and expiry dates.

•    Wrong Email Address – When you request a domain transfer a confirmation email is sent to the email address you originally registered against your domain name (unless you updated it). This ensures, for legal reasons, that the correct owner of the domain confirms that they have requested the transfer. The trouble is many people change email addresses and forget to update this very important contact point so they don’t get the confirmation email. If the email isn’t replied to or isn’t done exactly as described in the email then the transfer will fail. In the case of our transfer confirmation email it must be replied to with only the transfer code left in the body – but full instructions are given in the email.

•    Supply the correct ‘TAG’ – A tag is created for each registrar by Nominet (the registry that controls .uk domains). Initiating a .uk transfer requires the domain owner to supply a ‘tag’ to their current domain name provider (registrar). This is what is known as a ‘push’ process so by supplying your current provider with the tag e.g. ‘GANDI’, your domain will be ‘pushed’ towards the new domain name provider, in this case us. Just so you don’t get confused, GANDI is the supplier of domain names to WebEden so when dealing with domains for WebEden, always use ‘GANDI’ as the Tag.

If this tag is not supplied or it is incorrect then the ‘push’ will not be initiated and the transfer will fail, so just remember to supply your current provider with the tag ‘GANDI’.

•    Getting an ‘Auth’ code – The bulk of the other domain transfers, e.g. .com, .net, .biz, .org, use what is known as a ‘pull’ process. Unlike .uk transfers, the owner of the domain must go to their current domain name provider and request an authorisation code or ‘Auth’ code. This is then provided to the receiving provider during the transfer process. Most donating providers put a time limit on the Auth code so if action isn’t taken quickly then the Auth code can expire and the transfer fail. The other bigger trap is transcribing (reading and retyping) the Auth code. It is not uncommon for users to mistake l (L) and I (i) or 0 (zero) and O (letter o). So the surest way to not make a mistake is to copy and paste where possible.

•    Contact Details – When setting up the transfer any missing or incorrect address details will cause the transfer to stall. Check that full and accurate address and postcode details are provided and that the phone number format is correct. Also ensure you use exactly the same name you provided to your current provider as any minor difference will delay the process.

•    Country Restrictions – Finally, some registries (the guys that have overall control of the TLDs) set rules over domain ownership. For example if you wish to own a .eu domain, then you MUST provide an address with the EU. This is more noticeable when buying a domain but some domain owners move countries and this may cause a transfer to fail.

Transferring .uk Domains

Want to know how to make your .uk domain transfer flow smoothly? Just follow the steps below:
1.    Unlock – check with your current provider that the domain is unlocked and available for transfer

2.    Email access – also check with your current provider what email address is registered against your domain. If necessary, change it.

3.    Tag – supply your current domain name provider with the new tag, ‘GANDI’

4.    Contact Details – ensure that the contact details you provide in our domains module match those held by your current provider

5.    Email action – Once you receive the confirmation email from Gandi you must take action – reply to the email, in plain text, changing only the body of the email i.e. removing everything in the email body except the transfer code (code…/ACCEPT)

6.    Have patience – Transfers can sometimes take days, sometimes weeks. This often depends on how quickly you respond, the accuracy of your tag or contact details and how quick your current provider take action to release your domain from their service. While this is the Internet, the process is not instant!

Transferring .com Domains and all the others (.net, .org etc.)
To ensure a pain free transfer of your .com (or .net, .org, .name, etc etc) please just follow the steps below:

1.    Unlock – check with your current provider that the domain is unlocked and available for transfer

2.    Email access – also check with your current provider what email address is registered against your domain. If necessary, change it.

3.    Auth Code – request an Auth code (authorisation code) from your current domain name provider. You must get this before starting the process as you will be asked for this during the transfer process. And try to copy and paste it to ensure there are no ‘typos’

4.    Contact Details – ensure that the contact details you provide in our domains module match those held by your current provider

5.    Email action – Once you receive the confirmation email from Gandi you must take action – reply to the email, in plain text, changing only the body of the email i.e. removing everything in the email body except the transfer code (code…/ACCEPT)

6.    Have patience – Transfers can sometimes take days, sometimes weeks. This often depends on how quickly you respond, the accuracy of your Auth code and contact details and how quick your current provider takes action to release your domain from their service. While this is the Internet, this process is not instant!

What about my emails?

If you value your emails and wish to transfer your domain name into us you should be aware of a few things:

•    If you use webmail (and here’s our guide on how to set up your webmail) then your emails will be stored on your current domain name provider’s mail servers. If you transfer your domain across to us then you will lose ALL your emails as they will remain, and no doubt be deleted from, the mail servers of your current provider. If this is important to you then please see the next point.

•    If you use an email client e.g. Outlook, (Mac) Mail, Thunderbird, then you will need to store copies of your emails locally (on your computer) to ensure you save copies. Most email clients will provide an option to do this. Make sure you save copies of your emails before you initiate the transfer to ensure you have full access to your mail while you still have access.

•    If you wish to set up a client so that you can save copies of your emails then please refer to our article on how to set up your email.

Jargon Buster

Registries: The controlling organisations which include three of the main registries: Nominet, who control .uk domains; Verisign who control .com and .net; Public Interest Registry, who control .org.

Registrars: Your domain name provider.

Auth Code: Authorisation Code, supplied by your current domain name provider (registrar) to transfer your .com, .net, .org, .biz, .mobi etc. This must be supplied to your new domain name provider so that they can request or ‘pull’ the domain across. This is usually a string of letters, numbers of combination of both, and often in mixed upper lower case letters.

Tag: A “TAG” is a handle or label specific to each registrar. This is only important when you wish to transfer a .uk domain. It is usually obtained from your new or receiving domain name provider (registrar) . It must be supplied to your existing or donating provider so that they can release or ‘push’ your domain over to the new provider. It usually consists of your new provider’s name, so when transferring a .uk domain to us you would use our domain partner’s name: GANDI

Locking: A lock placed on your domain by your current provider to stop it being transferred. Some providers automatically lock it, so you must request it to be unlocked for the transfer to take place.

Confirmation email:
You will be sent an email asking you to confirm that you requested the domain name transfer. Two key points: 1. It will be sent to the email address you currently have registered against that domain e.g. when you first set it up, and 2. you must follow the ‘acceptance’ instructions in the email exactly for your confirmation to be accepted. This email generally requires a response within 5 days.

60 day rule: This is the minimum period of time required between the original domain creation date and the time after which transfers are permitted. This delay does apply to all registrars.

Patience: A quality required in ample amounts when transferring. It usually takes between one and six weeks for a transfer to complete although it has been known to take as little as a few days. If domains are locked, auth codes are wrong (or tags not supplied), emails aren’t answered then it could take six weeks (worst case).

Good luck, and let us know how you got on.

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Archive

Don’t forget about your Domain Name

When you register a domain name, it’s an exciting time. You’re more than likely to be buying the domain for a new website you’re building. You’ve got a new project, a new direction, and you’re full of ideas. But its really important to remember that when you register a domain, you do so for only a certain period of time. The standard registration period for a .co.uk is 2 years, and for .com, .net and .org its often just 1 year.

Once you’ve registered your domain, you can do whatever you want with it: use it for your website address; point it at your website; use it for your email address. Whatever you want.

So what happens at the end of that registration period? Well if you do nothing, then the domain name falls out of your ownership and is returned to the ‘pool’ of unregistered domain names at the registry. So it’s really important to remember: if you continue to want that domain name, then you have to make sure you renew it before the registration period is over.

If the registration period finishes and you don’t remember to renew it, but decide you still want your domain, it’s not the end of the world. You can always re-register the domain, and – providing no-one else has registered it in the meantime – you get the domain back.  However there is a risk that someone might have jumped in there and registered it, especially if the domain name has a value. A domain name builds up value over time if you do certain things with it. For example, if your website starts to appear high in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), your domain name will have value simply due to the number of people who visit it. Or if your domain name is a close match to your brand or business name, it has a value because potential customers may type it directly into their address bar when trying to find your website. Visitors arriving through this method are called direct ‘type in’ traffic.

If a competitor gets hold of your domain name, they would benefit from getting all the visitors that would have arrived at your website though both the search engines and the direct ‘type in’ traffic. All of a sudden, the people who would have bought from you have the opportunity to buy from them instead.

So you can see that it’s important to make sure your domains are renewed so that no-one else gets a chance to register them. It can be so lucrative to register a domain that someone forgets to renew, that there’s even an industry sprung up around it. Its called ‘dropcatching’.

You might expect people with personal websites, or small businesses to not always renew their domain names. First of all, there’s the expense. There area large number of frequently used domain extensions (apart from .com, .net, .org there’s others like .info. me, and a whole bunch of popular country extensions too). And there’s also the variety of ways in which most company names can be written, as we discussed recently with the expensive domain ToysRus forked out for. It can therefore be an expensive business buying all your relevant domain names. And once you own quite a few, it can be hard to stay organised. The chances are your domains were registered at different times, maybe with different registrars, and for different periods of times. So its not surprising that occasionally domain names lapse without getting renewed.

But what about if you’re a big company? You’re organised, you have spreadsheets, you have budgets, and you have systems, so that your domains stay up to date, don’t you?

Well not in the recent case of Texas based ‘Silicon labs’, As first reported over on domain name wire, despite being a billion dollar company, they recently forgot to renew their domain ‘siliconlabs.com’. As soon as it became available, it was ‘dropcatched’ by an individual in Utah who registered it and then pointed the domain at a website full of adverts. This is another version of cyber squatting that we blogged about recently.

The company is now going through a domain arbitration process to recover the domain, but each day that goes by they lose money. And someone in Utah is making money out of that!

This shows the importance to having a ‘domain name management’ policy in place. For individuals and small business, make sure you have written down all the domains that you own; their renewal date; where you registered them. Make sure also that all of the emails from each registrar are set to go to you, rather than a variety of people in your business. Don’t rely on the domain registration company to remind you to renew.

One of the easiest way to manage your domains is to have them all in once place. You could choose WebEden for that, and transfer your domains to us. Don’t forget you get free email services with every domain.

So have you had any experiences of losing a domain name, or have you done some dropcatchng yourself? Leave us a comment below.

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Archive

Cyber squatting on your domain name

For a while now we’ve been giving away a free domain name with website builder packages. We’ve also made it possible for you to buy a domain name too.

It’s not always easy to find the right domain name for your website. If you’re a company, or a brand, or even a club for that matter, you want a domain name that’s close to your company name. For example, if you’re running a taxi company called Joe’s Taxis, then your ideal domain name would probably be:
joestaxis.co.uk
joestaxis.com

But what if when you’re looking for your domain, you find that someone has already registered it? If you suspect that they have registered it for financial gain at your expense, then you’re having an encounter with a ‘Cyber Squatter’.

Cyber squatting is the registering of domain names that would otherwise be used by companies or brands, that are a close match to that company’s name or brand. Cyber Squatters do this for financial gain. They can make money by placing adverts on the domain name’s website, or by directing visitors to that domain name towards a competitor website of the brand owner – for money of course!

There have been some high profile cases of cyber squatting over the years. Most recently, when Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, cyber squatters quickly moved in and registered the domain bankofamericamerrilllynch.com before either bank could do so.

The domain name registries – the organisations that administer domain names – have policies in place to make sure that brand owners can legally recover their brand’s domain names. If brand owners can prove that the domain name has been registered by someone else in order for that person to gain financially from the brand value of that domain name, then they are legally able to recover it. However, the domain reconciliation processes take time and costs money. And due to the sheer number of ways you can write a domain name, and the number of domain extensions available (.com, .net, .org,. info, .biz, .me.uk; there are around 40 major ones), this can be a costly process for any brand owner.

The bad news is that Cyber squatting is on the up. As reported on the BBC, cyber-squatting went up last year by 18%. There were apparently 1,722,133 reported incidents. And the bad news for brand owners is that the study – by brand specialists MarkMonitor – also found that 80% of websites identified 12 months previously as “abusive” were still in existence today

Whilst this probably reflects poorly on the domain ownership resolution process of the registries, it also indicates that brands should get a lot tougher against people who are abusing their brand by buying and developing domain names that trade on their brand name.

And with so many ongoing cases – which are on the increase – it also shows that cyber squatting is obviously a lucrative business for those involved.

So what should you do if you are the victim of Cyber Squatting? Your first and best bet is to contact the current owner of the domain name and to politely ask them if they would sell you the domain name. If they don’t want to, or agree but want to charge more than a nominal fee (say £50), then you need to contact the relevant domain name registry and follow their domain ownership dispute process. The registry for .uk domain names is called Nominet, and here’s a link to their domain name ownership dispute forms.

Have any of you website builders been victims of cyber squatting? Or have you cheekily bought a domain name that you knew was benefiting from someone else’s brand equity? Leave us a comment below.

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Archive

$5.1m for a Domain Name

The domain name industry is gasping this week at the news that the domain Toys.com was sold at auction for an eye watering $5.1m.

As reported over on Techcrunch, the bidding went back and forwards for hours, but the eventual winner was High Street retailer ToysRus.

Of course many are asking: how can a domain name be worth that much to anyone? Lets look at why ToysRus went for it.

1. Getting the address bar traffic

First off, people navigate the web in different ways. As previously mentioned, many type the website address directly into a search engine. Lots of others do the exact reverse, and type a domain name directly into the address bar. So all those millions who are interested in toys and therefore type toys.com into the address bar will now be taken straight to the ToysRus website. If that equates to 1 million people, who each spend £10 at Toys.com, ToysRus will have recouped almost double their original investment.

2. Getting the Search Engine traffic

Those of you have read our search engine optimisation guide will be familiar with the factors that help your website appear high up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a particular keyword. One very important way to boost your position in the SERPs for a particular keyword is to have that keyword in your domain name. Now ToysRus can use the toys.com domain name, their opportunities to gain more highly relevant traffic from search engines are improved. A quick look at the Google keyword tool will tell you that there were over 300,000 searches for toys in February alone. Add up all the variations and there are ten times that. If the ToysRus can get just 10% more of this search traffic by using the Toys.com domain, its probably worth the money.

3. ToysRus is a (slightly) confusing name

We’ve all heard of Toys ‘R’ us – they’ve spent enough on television advertising over the years to make sure of that. But if we were all asked to search for their website, how many variations of their name spelling would we get? Here’s just a few that I can think of

Toys r us

toysrus

toys are us

toys ‘r’ us

At the moment these variations and thousands of others are opportunities for ToysRus competitors when it comes to search engine advertising. At the moment ToysRus need to make sure that they are top of the organic and sponsored listings on all the search engines for all the variations of their name. That’s quite a big job – and a big opportunity for competitors to get in and ‘steal’ that search engine traffic by appearing at no. 1 instead. Put it this way, if you wanted to buy a Thomas the Tank Engine model and you went to Google and typed in ‘thomas the tank engine toys are us’ and another website (website X) appeared in the top position for this search term (Toys are us), AND they had a Thomas the Tank Engine cheaper than ToysRus, who would you buy from?

Most people would carry on looking for the real ToysRus website, but a significant minority would by from Website X.

And if their shopping experience was good (the product was cheap, delivery was free and on time, customer service was clear) they might well look to buy from website X second time around. Maybe they buy 5 products a year… for 10 years… and tell 2 friends who do the same… You can see that pretty soon company X is reaping the rewards for getting their website to number 1 for the search term ‘toys are us’. And the money spent with company X is money that isn’t spent at ToysRus. Even though the person originally wanted to buy from ToysRus. The effort and expense of defending the ambiguous ToysRus name is huge.

4. Owning the Real Estate

At the moment in the offline world many turn to ToysRus when buying a toy. But for a variety of reasons (they don’t like the brand, the shops are too big, they’re often out of town) many don’t. If ToysRus can dominate the online toy buying market by effectively blending the ToysRus brand with the generic ‘toys.com’ domain, their dominance of Internet toy shopping may be even greater than their high street success. Only time will tell.

So you can see that $5.1m may be a small price for this particular domain name.

How much do you reckon yours is worth? Remember, you get a free domain with all max packages and above. If you’re inspired by the toys.com story then search for a domain name now!

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‘Domain names? We don’t need them’, say Japanese

This article first appeared over on Computer World last week.

If you’re an online marketer and you use AdWords to drive traffic to your website, it can be frustrating (and expensive) when your current customers click on your sponsored listing just to navigate to your website.

For example, lets say that you want to buy something from John Lewis, and you’re previously bought stuff from John Lewis before.

Do you go to your address bar and type in ‘http://www.johnlewis.com’ or do you go to Google and search for ‘john lewis’? If you do the latter, and you click on the ‘sponsored listing’ at the top of the page, then you’re costing John Lewis money. They have to pay Google a few pence each time someone clicks on their sponsored listing. These costs really mount up! A well known brand like John Lewis might get more than 10,000 clicks per day on their sponsored link from people who are just clicking as an easy way to navigate to the website, rather than genuinely searching for a product that John Lewis might stock.

In an ideal world, online marketers spend money on advertising to drive new customers to their websites, not current customers.

But if that’s a frustration here in the UK, just imagine how annoying it is in Japan. Over there, hardly anyone makes use of the address bar when navigating to a website, and almost always use a search engine, even when they know the exact web address of the site that they’re going to.

They continue to do this even when its a site that they use all the time. For example, many people in Japan have Yahoo as their homepage, and they like using Google to search for things. Rather than deleting ‘Yahoo.com’ out of their  address bar and writing ‘Google.com’, they search for ‘Google’ in the Yahoo search engine.

Last year there were so many people searching for Google in the Yahoo search  engine that the word ‘Google’ was the 4th most searched for term in Yahoo!

This preference for the search box rather than address bar is used by advertisers in Japan, At the end of TV or radio adverts, the user is invited to  search for their product using particular keywords. For print and outdoor adverts, a small picture of a search box with the keywords already inside it is usually printed on the bottom right hand corner, as a call to action.

The only time we’ve seen anything like that in the UK is in a recent advertising campaign by Orange, who invited users to search for ‘i am’.

The reason this is so common in Japan originates from the relative rarity of domain names (the bit that goes in the address bar) using Japanese characters. Early Japanese sites used English (Latin) letters instead. Its obviously a really long winded process for broadcasters to phonetically spell out the Latin characters of a domain name at the end of every advert. Just imagine a call to action for Webeden.co.uk. It would go something like this: ‘Visit duh-bul-yoo-ee-bee-ee-dee-ee-en-dot-coa-dot-yoo-kay’.

Thanks to this preference for using search engines to navigate the web, rather than the address bar, just imagine how much money the major search engines are making from people clicking on sponsored links for websites that they use every day!

Its not going be long however until domain names in Japanese characters become much more common. But now the search habit is so ingrained, will it ever change?

If you’re not clear yourself on the difference between a domain name, an address bar and a search engine then we’ll shortly be producing a ‘what is tutorial’ for browser basics.

In the meantime, feel free to search for a domain name to go with your Webeden website!

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Archive

The Internet is growing… and then some!

Whilst you’re busy building websites, have you ever wondered how big the Internet is? How many websites, domains and how many pages? The reality is that it’s quite difficult to measure, so all figures are an estimate.

What’s for certain is that it’s growing – if you look at domain sales alone, the number of Top Level Domains went up by 16% in 2008 to 177,000,000.

One of the best assessments come from a company called Netcraft, who produce (amongst lots of other interesting research) a monthly ‘Web Server Survey’.

Each month Netcraft send out ‘requests’ to every website and server on the Internet, asking for a small bit of information to be returned to them.

In February they had responses from a 215,675,903 websites. ‘Woah, that’s a lot of Internet then’ you might say! True, but what’s really amazing is how many more sites that is from the previous month. There were more than 30 million more than January, a growth of more than 16%.

Lots of this growth can be pinpointed to China, thanks to a service called ‘Qzone’. This is the Chinese equivalent of MSN Messenger. Qzone have added a blogging service to their messenger client, and the 20 million sites that they serve mean that they are now the biggest single provider of blog sites, eclipsing Blogger and Windows Live spaces.

Here’s a graph showing the growth of active websites from August 1995 to February 2009, from Netcraft.

So is the Internet growing? Too right!

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Video Tutorials

Website Builder Tutorials – Buying a domain name

Here’s another tutorial. Now we’re starting to get into more advanced features -this time its how to buy a domain name. We’ve made our domain registration service easy to use – follow these steps and you won’t go wrong. Don’t forgot that the Standard package and above come with a free domain.

Good luck buying your domains!

If you’ve already bought a domain name from WebEden and want to point it at your WebEden website, then take a look at our video tutorial on how to point your domain name.

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Domain Names caught short by global warming

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!

Leave a comment below:

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