There have been some solid .io sales this year and it prompted one reader to ask me if there was a guarantee that .io would always be in existence? They want to jump in but are concerned by an article that I wrote.
A guarantee? No. Since the 2014 article on GigaOm came out about the plight of the Chagossians and the dark side of .io much has come to light.
With the ominous title, The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal.
The Chagossians want to return and want their extension. Mauritius wants sovereignty over the Archipelago, BIOT will cease to exist as a dependent territory. Country code domains are based on the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes, the removal of the BIOT from the standard could mean the end of the .io domain.
WsWs.org reported that UK dismisses UN Maritime Court ruling that it has no claim to Chagos Islands/Diego Garcia
On January 27, the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), in the latest round in a protracted legal battle, ruled that the UK has no sovereignty over the Chagos Islands
With no powers of enforcement, the court’s ruling is a dead letter and Britain knows this, declaring, “The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the UK does not recognise its claim.”
Now whether this would happen or not remains to be seen. Kieran McCarthy speculated that if administration of the Chagos islands transferred to Mauritius, so would all .io domains.
Emma Bennett wrote an article last year that stated Mauritius could run the extension how they saw fit.
What I think about is old school Verisign type premiums on .tv. What about Mauritius saying Trade.io, yeah that’s $500 to renew.
It’s worth reading Emma’s post in it’s entirety as she addressed a lot of things like domain history, SEO and a host of other things.
TheDarkSideof.IO encourages startups operating on a .io to donate to the Chagossians.
Do I think .io going away? I would bet no, but to make it a guarantee is foolish. There is a lot of parties going back and forth here and tempers are high.
Lowy Institute summed it up two weeks ago in a way that I think makes the most sense.
Any future negotiated solution to the Chagos territorial dispute will probably need to take this issue into account – potentially even including the perpetuation of an “Indian Ocean” (or “IO”) territory – to preserve this profitable digital asset.
There is a lot of money at stake and a lot of businesses could be upended, a practical solution is a must.