Tuvalu chooses GoDaddy for lucrative Dot tv domain name


By Dionisia Tabureguci

The Tuvalu government has announced its selection of GoDaddy Registry as the new registry service provider for its dot tv country code top level domain (ccTLD).

This followed a competitive tender process by its Ministry of Finance, in which it sought a long term partner to help it grow the .tv namespace as well as willing to invest in Tuvalu’s economic future at a local level.

The value of the contract has not been made public but is expected to benefit the Polynesian state in more ways than the 20-year deal it had with Verisign, which had expired last month.

“GoDaddy Registry is renowned for the industry-leading marketing strategies they have applied in their work with other TLDs such as .co, .us and .nyc. We are excited to work with GoDaddy to promote and grow the namespace within the local and global Internet community,” said Minister for Justice and Foreign Affairs, Simon Kofe, when making the announcement this week.

The deal is also slated to support Tuvalu’s climate change mitigation efforts as it is faced with a dire predicament of becoming completely submerged as sea levels rise.

“Currently, climate change is threatening the very land we Tuvaluans live on. Consequently we are exploring the concept of building a ‘digital nation’ and how different technologies can support our Government and help maintain Tuvalu’s sovereignty even if climate change negatively affects our land territory. Tuvalu’s statehood is threatened if the nation’s land territory disappears due to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. We will work to maintain our statehood at all cost so that our access to our ccTLD, which is an entitlement for recognised states, is not threatened. We can do this by creating the first digital nation and legally securing our statehood against the impacts of climate change. The .tv ccTLD is part of this strategy and something that we feel GoDaddy Registry understands and can help us with. Registrants of the .tv ccTLD will have a chance to own a bit of real estate in the first digital nation, which is a novel and empowering concept for Tuvalu and its partners,” Kofe said

Barely two meters above sea level with a population of close to 11,000 and a main island of just 10 square miles, Tuvalu hit Internet jackpot in 1995 when it was assigned .tv by the International Organisation for Standardisation, which created and maintains the Internet country codes under its ISO 3166 list.

In 2001, industry giant Verisign bought the .tv rights from another company that had initially struck a deal with the Tuvalu government to sell and market the asset.

Verisign also took on the terms of the contract, including payment of a flat fee of US$5million annually to Tuvalu for the rights to sell .tv.

Over the years, .tv has become lucrative with the growth of video streaming content that typically use the .tv domain name.

Among the string of high profile companies is Twitch, an interactive livestreaming service owned by American billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of e-commerce giant Amazon.

For Verisign, the evolution of .tv into an important domain name in the online television market has translated to an annual revenue stream of over US$25million from .tv alone, based on around 500,000 customers paying an average US$50 a year for their .tv domain names.
However, Tuvalu has, over the years, felt short-changed by the contract and attempts to get more from Verisign had led to ongoing tension between the two parties.

Industry sources say Verisign, which runs the .com namespace, did not participate in the .tv bidding this time around.

GoDaddy now adds .tv to its extensive portfolio of top level domains, which includes .biz, .co, .in, .nyc, .us and support of more than 215 TLDs with approximately 12 million domains, assets it acquired when it acquired Neustar Registry last year.

“We are honoured to have been selected to partner with the Government of Tuvalu to help grow the .tv namespace,” said George Pongas, Senior Director at GoDaddy Registry.

“GoDaddy registry has many years of experience in the domain name industry and has a rich history in managing global ccTLDs. Now the .tv ccTLD can benefit from our industry-leading team, technology and expertise, which is always evolving with continuous investment and innovation,” Pongas added.