On the Internet, dot-com reigns supreme. But expansion of the information superhighway has necessitated the construction of other domain suffixes, or top-level domains, such as dot-ca, dot-biz, dot-info and, more recently, dot-mobi (for mobile devices).
Now comes dot-asia, a regional domain for Asia and the Pacific that opened to the general public in March.
“Anybody who has a business and who wants to get in on the Asian market . . . is jumping on now,” says Cybele Negris, co-founder and chief operating officer of local domain registry Webnames.ca Inc.
In truth, for most companies, the value in bagging a dot-asia domain isn’t in what it gets you, but what it prevents: namely, someone else squatting on your turf.
Take Telus. Spokesperson Shawn Hall says Telus routinely negotiates with domain owners to secure its web presence, but despite securing telusca, telus.com, telus.net, mytelus.ca and mytelus.com, mytelus.net has yet to be lassoed. “It’s likely a case that the owners of that snapped it up before we were able to,” explains Hall. (For the record, BCBusiness still hasn’t finagled bcbusiness.com from a Sooke-based security company.)
Telus isn’t prepared to miss the boat this time. “Every time a country code is announced, we generally submit requests, if applicable,” says Hall.
As of mid-March, some dot-asia URLs were still conspicuously available: methanex.asia, teekay.asia and intrawest.asia.
Warns Negris, “There will be a lot of people out there who are banking on the fact that people haven’t taken notice of dot-asia.” Even Webnames.ca isn’t immune to the cyber-squat: it can’t get its hands on webnames.com.
“One of our competitors ended up buying it from somebody else . . . and they have a written agreement that if they ever sell it, no one can ever sell it back to us,” confesses Negris. “It’s really nasty.”