Tuvalu, a tiny South Pacific nation
April 12, 2000 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Tuvalu, a tiny South Pacific nation measuring 26 square kilometers, has sold the use of its domain name -- .tv -- to Idealab! in a deal that promises to garner Tuvalu more than three times its national budget.
posted by TuxHeDoh (4 comments total)
I remember when they started the deal with the Toronto based company. The site had said .tv domains would be $1,000 to setup and $500 per year to keep. I wanted to buy killyour.tv until I heard about the outrageous costs. Hopefully Idealab makes them cheaper, but I doubt it, they bought the domains for a reason - to make money.
posted by mathowie at 10:00 AM on April 12, 2000

Actually, it's much more interesting than that. They're being auctioned.

The www.tv faq states that every bidder must submit a CC# for a $1,000 refundable deposit, but all domain prices are subject to open auction. The minimum bid seems to be $100, but they can go up quickly and at the $100K and up level the increment is $5 grand!

The bidding is for the annual registration, not for one-time "purchase" rights. So if you bid friends.tv up to $5,000, you have to pay $5,000 for the first year alone.

Then, guess what? The second year registration goes up 5%. Yep, now to keep it, you have to pay $5,250. And so on each succeeding year. If you decline it goes back to auction. If you want to transfer the domain to someone else, one of you will have to pay a 10% transfer fee (e.g. $500 during the first year of our example) ... unless you use them to resell it, apparently.

If you're a mega-corporation with a TV property to protect, though, you'll like this: you can register a domain for up to 20 years in advance. I couldn't determine whether this meant the fee stayed the same or whether payment was required in advance, and if not, what difference it made.

All in all, this is a very different proposition from the way that .nu and .cx are being marketed.
posted by dhartung at 2:29 PM on April 12, 2000

Even more interesting, I can't figure out how they determine where they will start the bidding on a proposed domain name.
I put in "queso.tv", and it wants to start the bidding at $4,000. "jason.tv" is also $4,000. "zzz.tv" is $5,000, as is "vzq.tv". "overpriced.tv" is a misnomer at a mere $2,500. (I used the above names because I can't believe that there are actually any real auctions going on for any of these; one problem with their site is that you really have no idea if they are proposing a starting bid or the next bid in an already-running auction unless you see the name in the "closing today" bar.)
The best I can guess is that the starting bids have something to do with the domain name length -- shorter = more money.
And, predictibly, it won't let you register any network call letters, biggies or local stations -- it wants to hold those hostage, I guess, or perhaps just protect the intellectual property of the stations and networks.
posted by delfuego at 5:12 PM on April 12, 2000

If anyone gives a shite, my guide to alternadomains is still available and has been updated.
posted by joeclark at 8:17 PM on April 13, 2000

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