While much of the talk has been about new gtlds, a once obscure country code domain has really caught fire over the last year. The .io extension has become a hot topic of debate and speculation lately. Even Google keyword searches have seen a spike up for .io extension.
First things first, the .io is a country code and not a gtld as some in the pro .io camp have liked to pronounce. I have spent years covering .tv and some there like to call it a gtld, again it is not. Now Google does have its own special category for how it treats certain extensions in its search results.
Google calls repurposed country code domain Gcctlds. From Support.Google:
Generic Country Code Top Level Domains
Google treats some ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we’ve found that users and webmasters frequently see these more generic than country-targeted. Here is a list of those ccTLDs (note that this list may change over time).
.io is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the British Indian Ocean Territory.
On June 30,2014 David Meyer wrote an article on GigaOM that discussed the “Dark Side” of the .io extension. The article discusses how the native inhabitants were removed from their home by the British government.
From that article:
The .io deal
The rights for selling .io domains are held by a British company called Internet Computer Bureau (ICB), which also holds the rights to sales of .ac and .sh domains — indicating the South Atlantic islands of Ascension and Saint Helena respectively — and others. The .io domains each cost £60 ($102) before taxes, or twice that if you’re outside the EU.
The British government granted these rights to ICB chief Paul Kane back in the 1990s. ICB gets to run .io “more or less indefinitely, unless we make a technical mistake,” Kane told me. (ICB has so far run a stable .io namespace. It should be noted that Kane is a respected veteran of the infrastructure scene, and has been entrusted by ICANN with one of the 7 so-called “keys to the internet”.)
Kane would not disclose the number of .io domains that are sold each year, nor how much of the revenue go to the government. However, he said a fixed amount per domain goes to the “Crown bank”, with the rest being reinvested in the Domain Name System (DNS) services he operates, such as CommunityDNS. “We are a for-profit company that has elected to make sure that the monies received go into infrastructure investment,” he said.
As for the money going to the British state, “profits are distributed to the authorities for them to operate services as they see fit,” Kane explained. “Each of the overseas territories has an account and the funds are deposited there because obviously the territories have expenses that they incur and it’s offsetting that.”
The article goes on to speak to many startups and see how they feel about the situation and the human rights story that goes along with the .io extension. The article also mentions something that all registrants should care about.
There is another remote possibility — Mauritius might win its sovereignty dispute with the U.K. over the Chagos Islands. If that happens, the ownership of .io rights would probably be up in the air.
If you are going to partake in the extension, this is worth your time to read in its entirety.
Flippa has been one of the hot spots for buying and selling of .io domains. The domain file.io sold for $4,050 last month, and there have been several .io sales over the last few months.
Microsoft purchased Doc.io for $24,600 back in 2010. The domain currently redirects to Docs.com.
A few other .io Domain sales:
- n.io $40,000
- es.io $30,000
- x.io $30,000
- r.io $29,650
- doc.io $20,000
- food.io $10,000
- groups.io $10,000
- mega.io $10,000
- casino.io $6,300
- pay.io $6,150
- coding.io $5,000
- send.io $5,000
- london.io $4,920
- blue.io $4,500
- trade.io $4,000
- 888.io $3,888
- pic.io $3,500
- event.io $2,500
- geo.io $2,500
- body.io $2,300
- file.io $2,050
- files.io $2,000
- fit.io $1,950
- viral.io $1,950
- foreclosures.io $1,150
There is a website for $99 backorders at Park.io you can read the discussion on Namepros as there are mixed opinions.
The most active discussion about the extension is taking place on Namepros, the thread there has gotten quite active with a host of mixed opinions. It is worth reading to get all sides if you are going to jump into the .io pool.
.IO domains have been expensive in the past for just a basic registration, NameCheap has stirred things up by offering regs for $32.88.
Another note the registry has made a policy on adult related names.
6. APPROPRIATE USE
No .IO domain may be used, directly or indirectly, for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any Nation. In the event of NIC.IO being advised by any party that a specific site breaches this condition then NIC.IO reserves the right to immediately deactivate the offending registration. The applicant may seek the reinstatement of any suspended domain name by seeking a determination by an Arbitrator appointed by the World Intellectual Property organisation.
Feel free to leave a comment if you are pro, negative or undecided.