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Internet Island
.CC Domains

Susan Ives is a web developer


San Antonio grew to be the 8th largest city in the United States by annexing everything in sight. The latest twist is that San Antonio, in a convoluted way, has annexed an island in the Indian Ocean. And if you have a business in search of an Internet domain name, you might be moving there. 

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia, about one-half of the way from Australia to Sri Lanka. Their total land area is 14 sq km and the population is 636. It is an Australian territory. Until recently, their only export was coconuts. 

Their newest cash crop is Internet domain names. More than 15 million top-level domain names (such as <www.alamopc.org>) have already been registered, including more than eight million .com names. Most of the meaningful, short and memorable ones are gone. In a few years, the only dot.com names left will be <www.g^*h3Jd!df9JB.com>, and if you expect me to remember that, you have a higher opinion of my memory than I do. Because the Internet is international, the Cocos realized that they could contract-out their valuable .cc top-level domain. There’s no law that says you have to live in a place to register your web site there. 

The Cocos struck a deal with David Sams Industries of Beverly Hills, CA, which produces network and syndicated television shows. Their new subsidiary, SamsDirect Internet, contracted with the Cocos to resell the .cc top-level domain names. 

Enter San Antonio. CC are also the initials of Clear Channel Communications. Founded in 1972, Clear Channel operates 830 radio and 19 television stations in the United States and has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally Clear Channel also operates more than 550,000 outdoor advertising displays. In San Antonio, Clear Channel owns WOAI and five other radio stations. They are worth billions. Their corporate offices are on Concord Plaza in San Antonio, just off highway 281. 

On February 8 of this year, Clear Channel announced an agreement with SamsDirect to market and sell the .cc domain worldwide. San Antonio annexed an Island. 

The .cc domains are available through the CC web site. They cost $50 per year. U.S.-based .com names, purchased through Network Solutions, cost $35/year. This cost covers registration of the domain name, e-mail and web forwarding to your current Internet account and an "under construction page" that appears until you upload your own site. It does not include web hosting – that can be arranged, at additional cost, through any Internet company, including local ones. 

Before you freak out over paying a $15 premium for registering a .cc domain name, keep in mind that .com domain names are hot properties. PC Computing magazine recently reported that the name <www.business.com> was recently re-sold for $7.5 million. <www.express.com> went for $3.3 million; <www.wallstreet.com> for $1 million and <www.drugs.com> for $823,456. 

Some physicians are spending $299 a year to register their web sites in Moldova to get a .md extension. Other countries – Lithuania (lt), Togo(to), Romania (ro), the Christmas Islands (cx) and Montserrat (ms), to name a few – are also selling off their top-level domain names. Get a list at <www.register.com>. 

Other options are pending. Domain names are managed by a nonprofit international organization called ICANN, the Internet Association for Assigned names and Numbers. For several years, they have been debating whether to assign additional domains to the United States to ease the congestion. Among those under consideration are .tv, .web, .biz, .firm, .shop, .norm and .airlines. A decision is expected soon. 

Getting a domain name from another country is perfectly legal and will pose no extraordinary technical challenges to the company that hosts your web site. If you have been looking for a great URL for your web site, finding one on the Islands might be the best solution. After all – they’re almost part of San Antonio!


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