|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
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
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>
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
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!