Why are country code top-level domains not very popular in the Caribbean?
Four reasons why country code top-level domains not very popular in the Caribbean website owners.
In last week’s news, it was reported that the Dominican Republic intended to celebrate 25 years of having‘.do’ as its country code top-level domain.(ccTLD) Interestingly, virtually all Caribbean countries have ccLTDs, the majority of which were created in 1991 – 25 years ago – but there seems to be little or no intention to recognise of that milestone.
A ccTLD is a two-letter identifier or country code that is part of a web address (URL) and is generally used or reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory. The ones assigned to Caribbean islands/CARICOM countries are listed in the box below.
Whilst most Caribbean countries have their own ccTLD, anecdotal observations suggest that they are not as widely used by their citizens as a generic top-level domains, such as ‘.com’, “.org”, and “.net”, Here are four reasons why that might be the case.
1. Complicated registration process
Unlike the popular generic top-level domains, which can be purchased online from several webhost service providers, most ccTLDs for Caribbean countries cannot be readily purchased through those providers. Typically, arrangements to secure domain names that include the country-level extension need to be made directly with the local registrar. Further, the process to secure those domain names can be onerous, when compared with that with an online provider, which can deter individuals who otherwise might be eager to use that facility.
2. Expensive to purchase
Among online webhost service providers and registrars, competition can be stiff. Many offer com’, “.org”, and “.net” domain names at discounted rates, or even free for the first year when purchased with web hosting services. However, for Caribbean domain name registrars, the sale of ccTLDs is frequently seen as a premium service for which registrants must be prepared to pay. For example, webhost provider, GoDaddy, sells ‘.com”, ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ domain names from between USD 7.99 and USD11.99, discounted for the first year, whilst a ‘.ag’ domain name would cost USD 149.99.
3. No policy in place to encourage take-up
Similar to the radio frequency spectrum and telephone numbers, ccTLDs are considered a national resource, which ought to be managed. However the policy adopted, be it consciously or unconsciously, can restrict take up, and can disregard the numerous opportunities that might exist to encourage use and generate revenue. In the region, the following are some examples of the interest and opportunities that could be leveraged:
- ag – Antigua and Barbuda, which tends to attract German businesses, since Aktiengesellschaft, abbreviated AG, is a German term that refers to a corporation that is limited by shares
- bz – Belize, an extension that can point to a ‘business’
- ms – Montserrat, which tends to attract Microsoft-related domains
- tc – Turks and Caicos Islands, which tend to attract Turkish entities. (The official abbreviation of ‘Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’ (Republic of Turkey) is TC)
4. Perceived as limiting by prospective customers/registrants
Finally, while much more could be done by domain name registrars to increase take up of Caribbean ccTLDs, for some ventures, having localise domain names can be seen as potentially restricting their prospects internationally. One of the beauties of technology, and the Internet in particular, is the fact that one’s geographic location is not as important as it used to be. Hence, even a mom-and-pop-operation can operate in the global marketplace, and not be hindered by tags, such as a ccTLD, that might be unfamiliar to the international customer.
Image credit: Dennis Skley (flickr)