There are a few countries that should change how they do things and get in the game of repurposing their cctld.
I am talking about Benin and the island of St Helena. These two countries are fortunate enough to possess the .BJ and .SH country codes.
With .Ws looking to refresh their brand and focus on the increased interest of Chinese domain holders for short domains, especially numerics, Dot Bj and Dot Sh could get in the game. BJ for Beijing and Sh for Shanghai would resonate with Chinese investors imo. If .ws or .co are going to pick up registrations then these two could make a move as well.
Now when you look at .Sh it is run by a company not the government, Founded in 1997, the .SH domain registry is directed by its parent company, the Internet Computer Bureau PLC (ICB).
Does ICB want to spend dollars to market and make their pricing competitive ? That would be needed, same goes for .BJ which would need to lower prices significantly and create an English and Chinese version of their website nic.bj. For those that don’t know Benin is located in West Africa and is French speaking. According to the BBC it is a stable democracy.
Some domain owners have stuck their toe in the .BJ and .Sh pool. 7777.sh actually got registered today. 888.sh first registered in 2001 by an Indian registrant. Now .Sh makes this note in their rules:
3. MANDATORY RULES FOR SECOND LEVEL DOMAINS.
3.1 An applicant may reside in any legal jurisdiction.
3.2 Certain single letter, two or more letters or number domain names are available for registration in a controlled and equitable manner.
3.3 There shall be at least two nameservers for the domain (with addresses specified in the request) operating at the time the request is submitted. There is no requirement for the nameserver to be physically located on St Helena Island. There is no restriction on the IP address of these nameservers.
What is a controlled and equitable manner ?
There are a couple names that came up a lot when I checked popular 3 and 4N .sh domains. Hong Kong registrants and of course Shanghai registrants.
Dot BJ started to see registrations come in around October 2015 that focused on popular numerics like 888 and 999.
So there is a lot of work for both registries that would need to get done, but the juice may very well be worth the squeeze.
Before anyone gets crazy, NO I am not recommending you register .sh or .bj domains, I believe there is a high level of risk that only the experienced should consider. Right now I am not sure anyone can consider a serious commitment because the pricing is too high at $150 to $250 per name.
This is more about sparking conversation about the registries themselves and if they see an opportunity to jump in the game. Of course extensions need to be about more than just one facet but currently the demand coming from China is the strongest. Whether we all think it makes sense or not, you don’t fight the current of demand, give the people what they want. There are people selling numerics and getting offers everyday in spaces outside of .com. Will it continue for a month, a year, a decade ? Who knows ? Domaining has changed and unless you have a stellar portfolio like an Anything.com, or Telepathy you need to stay on top of stuff daily.