Monday, December 17, 2007

Who wants to be on .TV?

I seem to remember -- and maybe this is just my addled memories of Silicon Valley playing tricks on me -- that all the good .com names were supposed to have been snapped up years ago in some great virtual land rush. The only viable alternative was to grab a domain from one of the newly-minted top-level-domains, like maybe .biz, or hey wait, there's an island nation called Tuvalu and guess what! Its TLD is .tv!

Station managers! Why use when you could use Why use Doesn't sound so much better? In those fin-de-siecle years, dreams and fortunes were made of less.

Current statistics from Name Intelligence, of course, tell a somewhat different story:

TLDRegistered domains (millions)

Stats for other TLDs are harder to track down, but clearly they're at least 2 orders of magnitude behind .com.

There does appear to be another effort in the works to get people buying .tv (the page I linked is a redirect from Certain "premium" domains are up for sale at premium prices. Annual fees range from $500,000 for to $100 for, say, I was intrigued by, but not $3000 a year worth of intrigued. Non-premium names, I believe, go for a more usual fee of around $25. The full list of 52,000+ premium names makes for somewhat entertaining browsing.

What of Tuvalu? The nation of 11,000 gets a cut of revenues from its agreement with Verisign. Being extremely remote, having few natural resources and having its highest point around 5 meters above (current) sea level, it can certainly use the cash. However, there is concern that the cut could be larger. From what I can make out, the total comes to around $2M a year, better than nothing, but at around $200 per person certainly not the bonanza one might have hoped for.

The official site for Tuvalu is, but be aware that their server appears very slow, possibly due to high latency as much as low bandwidth.

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