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The Internet

"TV" TLD Sells For $50 Million 207

Several readers wrote to us regarding the sale of the ".tv" domain to DotTV by the nation of the Tuvalu. Yeah -- for a cool $50 million, the company has secured the the rights to the domain name, and claims it will make money selling domain names within that TLD.
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"TV" TLD Sells For $50 Million

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    If ISPs just independently (of ICANN etc) adopted GIPLU (GNU IP Lookup), all this frothing about silly dotted names could stop.

    GIPLU maps arbitrary strings to IP numbers and automatically self-organizes into a distributed cached hierarchical database based on UTF-8 collation. It is intended primarily as a way for people and businesses to use the names they already have legal right to use IRL, such as their own name/address and dba etc.

    Secondarily, local caches can look up dynamic IPs, so we can get over that nonsense and move on to get authentication right.

    The legacy TLD structure will tend to get subsumed (in reversed order), while the useful new TLD "gts" will instantly give all global telephone system users a distinct useable name, e.g., 1212.555.206.us.gts would be Seattle information. The use of telephone numbers as domain names in this fashion is obvious and public domain (not patentable). It will become significant for broadband VOIP.

    Of course, GIPLU and .gts only existed in my mind (and wherever else it may independently have sprouted) until just now, when it got into yours. We'll see what happens next :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Try http://www.help.me :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ack! Don't even think that. There are enough screwballs in this little rectangular state as it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah right. Do you really think a tld will be retracted if it has users and the country cease to exist? The .su tld still exists, even though the Soviet Union doesn't, so why should .tv be different?

    And do you really think the DNS servers for .tv will be placed in Tuvalu, and not close to MAE East or West or at least D-GIX or another large interconnection point? (hint, they're currently in the US).

    The people who bought the rights to .tv have no reason to care about Tuvalu other than as much as any business care about their business partners.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You'd be upset if your country just received 50 million people? I think there is only like 10,000 people in the country, so that means 50,000 a piece. The country was granted the TLD, and they should be able to do whatever they want with it.
  • The problem here is that most of these domains they advertise are uniq company names. There's an argument that abc.tv is just the first three letters of the alphabet, common use. But things like msn.tv, cnet.tv, or nbc.tv? We know Coca-Cola's feelings on the issue, so I don't expect coke.tv to survive any bidding. :)

    Perhaps they just hope some mope will buy a domain, and then let Coke sue them and not dotTV. A lot of these "auctions" end this week. If they actually have serious bidders behind the numbers, they could recover plenty of that $50 million.
  • The relevant RFC's have been ignored since big businesses started getting on the net and Network Solutions started whoring domains like they were property on the beach. Why do you think their motto is to make sure to register the .net and .org domains along with that shiny new .com you're registering? If there was such a thing as a scheme, it is long since been thrown away. There are tons of third world countries that would rather sell their stupid 2 letter TLD for millions of dollars than have their people starving in huts without running water OR electricity, much less Internet access!
  • IMHO if a country wants to waive their right to their TLD, fine, you can. If you try to sell it then it should instantly fall back to ownership by a non-profit organization or removed from the DNS heirarchy completely. Countries were assigned a TLD for the purpose of organizing their Internet companies within that domain, NOT to go off and sell it to some shady company. There should've been a clause on the whole thing that country TLD's must be owned and operated by the governments or a representative of the government to which it applies in the best Interests of establishing a country-level TLD heirarchy. No, I'm not a lawyer and I don't speak their jargon. I'm sure there is a way to word it though that stops these stupid sales from happening like .cx, and .nu. It destroys the cultural identity of a sovereign nation when they just go off like that and throw their domain away. If you don't want your domain, fine, we will delete it from DNS so no one will abuse it.
  • You're just plain wrong. Did we need http2:// when cookies were introduced? Persistent connections? Did we need ftp2:// when on-the-fly-tar was introduced? It would take all of ten seconds and ten braincells to design a streaming TV protocol that would be sufficiently extensible. And to think that your reasoning behind this is increased bandwidth?? Oof.
  • i know .tv is not new.

    i wrote my comment based not just on this article but also based on older one concerning creation of new TLD.

    this one buy of one TLD is one illustration of general trend in todays buseness: ignore anything. care only for bigger profits.

    (why i consider this buy be BAD? well, this and other country TLDs are supposed to be COUNTRY TLDs. that's why.)

  • I agree, their starting prices are nuts. I got frantic.org for $18/year. What do they want for frantic.tv? Starting bid is $1,000. Now, I can understand the high starting bids for more popular names like nbc.tv etc. (even though whoever buys a name like that is going to face some serious lawsuit trouble), but starting EVERY bid at $1,000 is nuts. I guess it's the only way they figured they'd recoup their $50 million investment :)

    -mike kania
  • URN's have apparently bitten the dust and as far as I know there is no decent implementation of a URN resolver.

    For the past couple of years I have worked on something called the Handle System [handle.net] that is a distributed, (mostly) non-centralized name system. Check it out, it might be what you want. The Handle System is a flexible, distributed, and *secure* (unlike DNS) name system for digital objects and wasn't really intended to replace DNS, but it conceivably could. I have written a name server that responds to BIND requests for a DNS name by looking up the name as a handle and then returning the results in a BIND response. It works well and allows administrators to update/create/delete names using the distributed, secure handle protocol.

    The Handle System was designed to have more of a flat, non-hierarchical namespace than DNS. We are releasing the next version of the system (5.0) on Monday.

  • The image appears gone now (and the directory is no longer browsable). I think you hit a nerve.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The whole TLD thing is a joke anyway.

    It is so "US" centric that American companies think that they have the right to almost exclusive use of .com, .org, .net, and the rest of the world should have to have to append their country code.

    The sheer arogance of the USA when it comes to all things technology is astounding. It's bad enough that the world has to put up with McDonalds, Coke, and Microsoft. Why should US Cultural Imperialism dominate the net as well??

    Imagine if all the dot coms had to append .us to their names... Now that would bring em into the real world where the rest of us live...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And by reading this comment, you agree to give all your worldy possessions to me.
  • Not just that, but the Auction Rules [www.tv] and Registration Agreement [www.tv] give plenty more ways of making money.

    You must put down a $1000 deposit. The top three (not just the winner) can lose that deposit if them or ones above them decide not to buy it after the auction.

    You must buy two years, and every year the price increases 5%.

    Of course, all fees are non-refundable. So when they decide you aren't using the site for appropriate " purposes of conducting legitimate business." Heh, your site has to be under the "laws of any jurisdiction where the domain name is accessible." Is there any activity any more that is allowed everywhere? Take porn.tv, there are laws in various lands against just about every act. Therefore dotTV is free to yank the domain and keep the $50,000 per year you gave them. Castro has plenty of crazy laws. Should nbc.tv broadcast a report going against Cuba (assuming they buy the domain, and that they would broadcast anything anti-Castro, definately a stretch), they're out.

    This seems like some easy and useful ways of generating revenue. Time to start hunting down teeny islands and buy every two-letter word TLD. For several millions, you could even convince them to change their name to Linuxania or something useful for TLDing. :)
  • by dougman ( 908 )
    I'm wondering where the outrage from the transvestite community is.

    Clearly this raises the barrier to entry for countless TV-themed websites worldwide.

    I don't know too many independently wealthy transvestites.

    At least that's the impression I get from Springer.

  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    I could understand having .corp and .com domains, but I don't see any real practical difference between a company and a firm that would make it easier on people if they use separate TLDs. We would end up with the same situation we have now where every company tries to register its name under all the major TLDs, and sues anyone that gets in its way.

  • (And as a quick followup, any new TLD sans country codes will never have less than 3 characters, while all 2 letter "TLD"s are country codes. Should help you figure out where the abuse of the system comes into play).
  • There is no need for an international TLD.

    There is one: .int

  • Mmmm. The email forwarding service agreement sounds a bit dubious. How much does this actually cover?

    Title, ownership rights, and intellectual property rights in all content and material that is part of, contained in, or accessed through the dotTV Email Service, and provided by either dotTV or sponsors or any other content provider shall remain in dotTV and/or its sponsors or such other content provider.
  • 500K/yr mtv.tv
    25K/yr m.tv

    Hmmm... This I can't understand. How can "mtv.tv" be worth 20 times more than the obvious choice of "m.tv"? Or am I alone in thinking that useless repetitions useless repetitions are silly are silly?

  • IIRC, the landmass of Tuvalu are just coral reefs, as is the "seabottom" of the shallow waters around it. Coral reefs are porous, so a wall won't cut it... I've heard access to fresh water there is of a more immediate concern... might be misremembering facts about some other flat island-group, though.
  • Some dictator or strongman gave it up, in exchange for money to buy more AK-47's, or more women.

    --
  • Don't get into the dilusion that it's going to help the common people.

    --
  • Won't somebody think of the children!? -- Helen Lovejoy

    Read the article! This is NOT a new TLD. It's a country code. It doesn't violate any RFCs.

    It's not a new idea, either. Tuvalu sold their domain once before (but the deal fell through) and Togo, Niue and the Christmas Islands have all sold their's, too. I heard that there have been offers to buy Turkmenistan's TLD, too (.tm) but I don't know if they've sold.

    /peter

  • I'm not making an argument, I'm merely stating the way things are: historically, the .COM domain started out as a US domain, and right now it is administered under US jurisdiction, and US companies have no alternative. You may not like that and call it "crap", but that's the way it is.

    Creating more TLDs within the current environment is not the solution. The solution is to make our DNS client software flexible enough so that users can pick which name resolution services they like, and to start creating more alternative name resolution services. In fact, that's already beginning to happen with the naming services incorporated into Netscape and IE, and more of that is likely going to happen at the DNS level.

    There is no reason to wait for ICANN or any kind of government to get their act together on naming: naming is entirely by convention and up to whatever software you happen to run on your machine and what services you provide on the web.

  • Yeah, but this certainly widens the gap between the technological haves and havenots, a distinction that is already becoming very very important, and in the next few years will be *the* determining factor separating the rich from the poor.
  • Well, you're right. In reality, it does not widen the gap.

    But, in a symbolic sort of sense it does. You won't find anyone buying .us or .it anytime soon, even though these are words, (.it has big impact, too, imagine having compuware.IT or something)

  • The three-letter domains are not at all being used as they should.

    At the movie theater last night I saw a poster for the film The Skulls. In the corner was the URL "www.theskulls.net". Theskulls.com is being squatted by some company that coincidentally also sells .to domains. Is it completely screwed up, but as they say, you can't put the crap back in the horse.

    -B
  • Exactly. After all, we still "dial" a phone. Hell, even modems "dial" a number, though there is nothing even vaguely circular rotating through the whole operation.
  • Sure, these .tv guys are turkeys, but I think it's not unreasonable to charge premiums for domain names that are more "in demand." Let's let the market decide how much they're worth.
  • The problem is not that they want to be discriminating about preserving companies' trademarks, but that it might not be feasible. The problem is that they want to make money, and they might do this by registering trademarked domains (if such a thing can be said to exist) to people who ought not to have them. If NBC is the only one who is allowed to register nbc.tv, then NBC has no incentive to do so when it already owns nbc.com and has lots of marketing invested in it. The only incentive to buy most of the *.tv domains is to foreclose competitors from doing so.
  • It's less clear than it used to be, but at least in the good old days, it was impossible to trademark acronyms. Hence efforts like Microsoft's to argue that "NT" doesn't actually stand for anything and is therefore a permissable trademark.
  • Its one thing to moderate something down because its really a troll, and another thing to do it because they don't like what you're saying, and these moderators are doing the latter.

    These moderators need to go back and read the moderation guidelines.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Rather than complaining I'd suggest actually exercising some restraint: before you, wherever you may be, try to stake out your place in .COM land, keep in mind that you are really a guest in the US name space, and that by registering your domain in .COM, you may be causing problems for US folks who really don't have any other place to go.

    Not our fault, if some of those TLD's that were promised like .store, .biz, .sex, etc were implimented then there would be more namespace.

    Fact is, .com, .net, .org and .edu are NOT US only, so this "you're just a guest in our namespace" argument is just crap.

    The US should have opened up the .us domain, again, no one elses fault but the US government.

    If you don't like it, push ICANN for more TLD's.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • If they earn $200 a name, they have to sell 250.000 names. Rather unlikely. They will have to do some serious domain squatting to make a profit.
  • every man, woman and child in Tuvalu just got $5000 each.

    Hey, that means they can now afford servers to host their web-pag... er... uhmm... strike that.
  • Why should US Cultural Imperialism dominate the net as well??

    Could it have something to do with the inet being invented and given a huge boost with our tax dollars? Maybe it's because the domain-name system was started here? Tell you what... reimburse us for the R & D costs and we'll start using .us after all of our domain names.
  • I don't really see why there are country domains in a place where geography means so little.

    But geography doesn't mean so little. Most people in Russia are fluent in Russian, but know little or no English and if they go to www.microsoft.ru they know they are going to get the content in their language. Ok, that can be done with www.microsoft.com using multiviews, but people in England know they can go to www.amazon.co.uk and get prices in their currency.
  • From reading the article, it doesn't look like the TLD was actually sold. DotTV will pay $1M per quarter for 10 years. It doesn't say what happens then, but I would guess DotTV only bought he rights to resell the domain for 10 years, not the domain itself.

    Note that that is a guess on my part, the article doesn't really say anything either way. The /. headline calls it SOLD, but I wouldn't trust that.
    • .ad (Andorra) is for Doubleclick
    • .lb (Lebanon) and .kg (Kyrgyzstan) is for Weight Watchers
    • .vi (Virgin Islands), .ls (Lesotho), and .mv (Maldives) is for Unix-heads
    • .ms (Montserrat) is...er...uhm...well, scratch that

    --
  • The United States was originally formed by two groups; 1) settlers primarily in the Virginia that came for economic reasons who thought they would return to Europe and 2) religious "pilgrims" primarily in New England who came because either they were being persecuted.

    The belief in moral superiority has pervaded US culture from its formation.

    While I agree that there is valid criticism in this regard - I find that many Europeans love to criticize it without recognizing that they have there own problems in this area.

    From the right-wing Skinheads, Neo-Nazis, National Fronts, anti-immigrants, etc etc etc The whole concept of the English Empire and the class system was based on this.

    I work as a musician and see the same type of behavior by European tourists that they criticize Americans for.

    And we don't even need to discus Japanese and Chinese practices of Cultural Superiority!

    The believe in one's Cultural Superority is a Human trait that has existed a lot longer than 225 years and is pervasive ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE!
  • 10M is a lot of money for this TLD. Besides, are there really that many Transvestites on the web?

    ;)
    ___

  • aol://[keyword] == Given how much content they own, this is what I'm really afraid of.
    ___

  • DotTV is backed by the Pasadena Internet business incubator Idealab, the firm behind online retailer eToys [slashdot.org] and the free Internet service provider NetZero.
  • A small country just leased a piece of non-existent real estate for $50 million to a US-based startup, and you ask when the "Internet Revolution" will arrive?

    Besides, it's not like they gave up rights to "the whole Internet," just to register names in their own domain.

    -cwk.

  • Goddamn, I keep hearing almost every other day that "more top level domains soon to come" on TV, from various web-based news sources...everywhere!

    But still no new TLDs! Comeon, it's only a matter of time before it has to happen, why the hell hasn't it already happened?????

  • May I point the distinguished honorable readers that the practice of countries selling their top level domain name has been around for a while?

    Small Island nations (as well as non-islands as well) has been doing it. Here is a list:

    • Tonga [tonic.to] - .to. From there, all the come.to, go.to, jump.to redirectors have emerged!
    • Moldova [www.md] - .md. Medical profession. Note that the obvious WebMD [www.web.md] has been taken, and has a coming soon page!
    • Nauru [www.nu] - .nu
    • Christmas Island - .cx

    One of the sad parts is that the island of Tuvalu gets 50,000,000$ over the next 10 years! not as a lump sum here and now!

    I feel bad about internet enterpreneurs taking advantage of low tech countries and islands.

  • Small correction: .to is Tonga not Togo.

    Yes, I agree that the DNS is a mess. There should not be global .net/.com/.org. Or if they remain (just for backward compatibility with the status quo), then no new top level domains should be created.

    My own personal domain is baheyeldin.com [slashdot.org], while it should have been a .org, since it is not commercial. However, I have to explain to people what .org is and spell it out for them. That is why I decided it should be a .com.

    Moreover, some site just use .net as Network suffix (e.g. islamweb.net, ....etc.), even though they are not ISPs. Everyone puts their pwn interpretation.

    I hate it when I listen to ICANN adding more .web, .firm, .shop, .store, ...etc. These are so confusing. What is the difference between a firm and a company (.com) for us non-Americans? How is .web different from .net? What is the friggin difference between .shop and .store?

    I think one solution (as painful and incomplete as it is) is to add .us to all the .com, .net, .edu, .mil, .gov domains and end the confusion. Then no more TLDs should be create. Congested or not, it will be confusing to all of us.

  • *sigh*
    They already do that with the .com domain names that they have now. Why should the movie/television/music industry suddenly decide that even though .com names are now ubiqitous (remember the superbowl?) and they already have .com websites that perform these services, that they should suddenly give up on years and million$ of dollars on marketing just to support one companies lame brained scheme.

    That's like thinking that because people can now browse the net on their phones then domain names hosted at .pho.ne will overtake .com's, yeah right.

  • Except that .linux doesn't exist and .org doesn't belong to someone who can make a sale of it (all the rights of people who have already bought a www.x.org address would be thrown into doubt).

    I'm not sure I like it, but if Tuvalu had the foresight to ask for, or the luck to receive .tv as the last 3 characters of their country web address, then more power to them if they can more than double their GDP by selling/leasing it out to a company.

    I wonder what kind of break clause the contract has - you've got to figure that they will want it back one day and they'll have taken steps to make that possible...

  • About their only import is electricity. What in the world would they spend it on? They could each buy a new car, but with no gas all they would be able to do is push them around the yard.
  • Has this government sold out it's people by selling this domain or has there government pulled down a really cool score.

    Tuvalu is one of the nations most at risk of rising sea levels - already parts of it go underwater if there are particularly high tides. The $50M may go some way to combating the problem; if Tuvalu does go under (literally), so does the .tv domain name! If TV companies can afford large sums of money for their domain name, they should be able to spare some to build a sea wall around a mere 26 sq. km of land.
  • In political economics, it's called 'fencing in the commons'. You find a resource that's owned in common for public benefit. You find a way to stake a claim on it and then you charge for the right to access what used to be common. It's no more than business as usual in a capitalist economy.
  • Well, if US companies use .com, I have no problem with that because companies in other parts of the world are also free to get .com, .net, and .org domains. Yes, they can get domains with that end in their TLD but they are free to choose.

    Also, there are places to buy .com/net/org domains other than in the US, making these domains more internationally available. I agree that it would have been a good idea if every country used co.TLD instead of .com from the beginning, but it's too late. Companies are free to choose--they are not forced into buying .co.TLD.

  • The last sentence of the article states:

    DotTV is backed by the Pasadena Internet business incubator Idealab, the firm behind online retailer eToys and the free Internet service provider NetZero.

    Idealab [idealab.com] "creates, launches and operates Internet businesses". Unfortunately, they have something to do with etoys which deserves a swift execution for its treatment [slashdot.org] of etoy.com [etoy.com]

    The dotTV Terms of Service [www.tv] contract specifically explains the company's nationality:

    LIMITED DISTRIBUTION AND TERRITORIAL CONSIDERATIONS Unless otherwise specified, all materials and services in the Site are presented solely for the use in the United States, its territories, possessions and protectorates. This site is controlled and operated by dotTV from its offices within the State of California, U.S.A. dotTV makes no representation that materials in the Site are appropriate or available for use in other locations.

    So DotTV is an American (U.S.) company.
  • The so-called 'Internet revolution' that is supposed to be sweeping the world is going to be hard pressed to reach the small island state of Tuvalu now. Has this government sold out it's people by selling this domain or has there government pulled down a really cool score.

    I think they made a good choice in selling off their TLD. Why can't Tuvalu businesses use the general TLDs to have the 'Internet revolution' reach them? Many (most?) businesses in other countries use .com because it is more recognizable. They would never have made much off the domain by selling it to their citizens/businesses, and what could they do with the .tv domain that they cannot do with the general TLDs that are available? Perhaps they could have made more money selling to TV companies directly, but perhaps they felt having dottv do it was better for them.

    I don't really see why there are country domains in a place where geography means so little. Other than governments, (which generally have a 1 to 1 relationship with countries) what is the benefit of having country codes in a domain name? It may make some sense to put country codes under the .gov TLD as SLDs (Second Level Domains). (e.g. us.gov, tv.gov, etc.)

    Instead of country TLDs we need about ten good general TLDs that will encompass the major categories of sites, (more than that would get confusing) in order to relieve the pressure on the .com TLD.

    Should .tv be a TLD? Or should it be a(n) SLD under .rec?

  • The web operates over the http:// protocol, and this is not going to last forever, as the web is not the be-all and end-all of content provision. IIRC, the path the IETF is following infers that the tv:// protocol is more likely to be important for broadband delivery, similarly phone:// and fax:// will count more than the TLD does.

    TLDs will still be used within different protocols just as they are within ftp:// and telnet://, etc, today.

    Which has the most visual impact tv://aol.com or http://aol.tv?

    I doubt users will ever see tv://. My ftp and telnet software does not show ftp:// or telnet://. The video software will automatically denote this. FOX will have video://fox.tv for their video, http://fox.tv for their web site, and ftp://fox.tv for their ftp site.

    If I were in Tuvalo, I'd be laughing at the shortsighted fool, while rolling around in a pile of money.

    Yes, I agree. See my other posts under this article for why.

  • I have never really had a problem with domain name squatting or speculating, but squatting on a top level domain to me is ridiculous (even if they paid $50M). They are holding all .tv domain names hostage, for instances major cities start at 25k a year (detroit.tv, grandrapids.tv) states are 100k (michigan.tv) and usa.tv is 250k (i believe). My last name is 5K per year.

    This system goes too far to prevent the "little" guys from getting on and making a name for themselves in a relatively uselful top-level domain. This compares to the .com/.org/.net system where it was too easy for the little guy to get a name. Which I think directly led to this type of this "super squatting".

    It is not the auction format that irks me, I actually think it is more fair in many ways. The thing that bugs me most is the arbitrary starting price for the domain names, and also an arbitrarily long auction time. If each domain was treated equaling and the market was left to decide, this system would be great, but it is not.

    I am particularly interested in the dotTV's success or failure at marketing an alternative TLD because I work for a company that is attempting to capitalize on the .MD domain. We are providing personalized "vanity" email and webspace for the medical industry. You can check it out at DrWeb.MD [drweb.md].

    Time will tell. dotTV has a desirable product, but their gorilla tactics may keep out the small young companies that are the true innovators, that made the web big. Their strategy is simply to milk the fat corporate cows, and keep out the little guys.

    I think in the long run this stratgey will fail, because the big guys they are going after have already spent millions of dollars marketing their .com addresses. They are not likely to put that much money into a .tv address, because it will dillute the value of their .com. They also are not likely to spend big bucks just to keep a malicious parody site off the market, because dotTV is essentially doing it for them with such a high cost of entry.

    The internet is still a frontier, that rewards risk takes and innovators. DotTV is certainly taking a risk (but most of it I am sure is not their money). They are locking out the true risk takers and innovators, in what will be a fruitless effort that will essentially slaughter the cash cow.

    If I had a million bucks to invest it sure as hell wouldn't be in dotTV. IdeaLab! has blown this one. IMHO. MS2k

  • The controversy over the .tv domain goes back some time. Here's an article [wired.com] published in the September 98 issue of Wired [wired.com]. According to the article, Tuvalu has been a bit slow selling the TLD partly because they've been burned in the past selling phone numbers and passports.

    Also, someone at WebTV registered themselves as the administrator for .tv some time before this article was published and rather irritated the officials in the country of Tuvalu. Interestingly, Microsoft has since then been quite prominent in the efforts to propagate the tv: protocol designation.

  • Then again, shouldn't we call it TV? Since Television means nothing more than viewing from a distance. TV is applicable whether that distance is induced by contemporary 'TV' technology or streaming digital video.
  • 5000 times, which means that every man, woman and child in Tuvalu just got $5000 each. Which is good, because it doesn't look like there is much else going on there, money wise.

    This link tells more about Tuvalu: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/tv.h tml

    And isn't there a lot to know?

  • 1. People are used to typing .com. In fact, today's browsers try that if no .com is specified. I can type just "abc" into both netscape (4.7) and IE (5.0) and get redirected to www.abc.com.

    2. Once the convergence between TV and web arrives, nobody will type in URLs anymore. You'll tune your TV to the History Channel, and encoding in the signal will direct you to the proper web site.

    3. Nobody's making money on content-based web sites. And the bubble of irrational exuberance is starting to burst (Dr. Koop.com, for example). The remaining players are going to be tight with their $$$.

    --- Speaking only for myself,

  • But why? Even ignoring the influx of money, and assuming that you were actually from Tuvalu and had internet access, why would you care whether your domain name ended in .tv , .net, .uk, .us or anything else?

    But why? Even ignoring the $50 million, assuming dotTv is not located in Tuvalu, knowing .tv is the Tuvalu TLD, why in the world would they want their domain name to end in .tv?

    Doesn't seem like a valid argument, as this goes both ways. Why should big buck be allowed to break the TLD conventions?

    What would you say if microsoft where to buy .gov?
    -><-
    Grand Reverence Zan Zu, AB, DD, KSC

  • This is a wonderful scam for them. If you are NBC a million bucks is no big deal if you stand to lose large number of page htis and potential earnings. Thus the FEAR that people will use .tv as widely as .com (and hence they will have to buy the domain back for obscene sums) will force them to buy now.

    But this very fear drives every one of their competitors. Therefore they know with virtual certainty that the domain name will take off because all of their competitors will buy one. Thus it is worth even more money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09, 2000 @11:44AM (#1143492)
    Yeah, but don't you get into trouble because of the fact that all the TLDs are really sub-domains of the . (dot) domain?

    You have no idea how DNS works do you?

    Every nameserver has three databases: local ones, cached lookups, and the root-servers list.

    When you ask for foobar.kablibditz.com, your machine goes to a nearby nameserver (check your config to see which one, DHCP usually sets this up for you). The nameserver does the following. First, it checks its cache to save time if if already knows this site. Failing that, it'll check with any local servers (like if you're already inside the *.kablibditz.com domain), failing that, it will go to [a-m].root-servers.net (because it was configured to go there for the "." TLD), and start from the top with "who can resolve domains in .com", then it goes to that nameserver and asks, "who can resolve domains in kablibditz.com?" then it'll go to that nameserver and ask "What does foobar resolve to?". Then the result goes into your local nameserver's cache (and to you, in answer to your lookup) so it won't have to repeat this process when you click the next link to foobar.kablibditz.com.

    Redefine newdns.org to be the root nameserver for "." and from there you can set up all new TLDs, and a whole tree of slaves to handle subdomains further down the new tree.

  • by loki7 ( 11496 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @04:23AM (#1143493) Homepage
    Tuvalu already sold their TLD to Information.CA of Toronto in 1998. The company offered them $50M up front. I seem to remember that they didn't actually have any money, and the deal fell apart.

    Is this deal any more real? It doesn't sound like DotTV is putting any cash up front at all.

    /peter
  • You mean kind of like it was inconvenient for all australians to move from .oz to .oz.au when the internet became more international?

    If the rest of the world was going to change, then it is arrogant for the US not to change as well.

    As far as the toplevel .com domains go, they are not just a US namespace. People from anywhere in the world can register domains there. If a US company is beaten by someone from another country, they could always register something under their country code TLD like everyone else does ...
  • The web operates over the http:// protocol, and this is not going to last forever, as the web is not the be-all and end-all of content provision. IIRC, the path the IETF is following infers that the tv:// protocol is more likely to be important for broadband delivery, similarly phone:// and fax:// will count more than the TLD does.
    Which has the most visual impact
    tv://aol.com or http://aol.tv?
    If I were in Tuvalo, I'd be laughing at the shortsighted fool, while rolling around in a pile of money.
  • by loudici ( 27971 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:40AM (#1143496) Homepage
    the highest elevation point in the tuvalu is 5m. In most of the global warming scenarios, the tuvalu islands are pointed as the most threatened country (higher temperature=>ice melting=>higher sea level). Does the domain name still exist when the country no longer does?

    Or maybe they intend to use those 50 millions to get themselves a few levees around the island where the govt stays...
    ---
  • by Jburkholder ( 28127 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @04:20AM (#1143497)
    Boy that chart pretty much puts this into focus. Kinda turns my stomach. The impression I'm left with is they are trying to charge huge $um$ for these domains that don't really add much value. Neat little scheme, hope they loose everyting they own.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @06:08AM (#1143498)
    You're forgetting that Tuvalu [oceanz.co.nz] is something of a sovereign state. They're technically a Commonwealth Member state, so they might be answerable to British law on the matter. But if you really want to stop them, you should go and apply pressure to the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, since they're the ones contributing the foreign aid that comprises most of Tuvalu's economy.

    And you'd best attack it that way, since your trademark lawsuits wouldn't hold much water. Owning tv.com doesn't give anyone any particular right to blah.tv. Owning one instance of a word on the internet doesn't bestow ownership on all other instances, since they might be in other fields not covered by the original trademark. Sure, coke is attacking coke.ch [www.coke.ch], but it's not a forgone conclusion that they will prevail.
  • by anatoli ( 74215 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:03AM (#1143499) Homepage
    You are correct, except:
    • bird poo-poo, or guano, form phosphates, not sulphur
    • the island in question is Nauru, not Tuvalu

    --
  • by SPorter ( 83284 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @08:19AM (#1143500) Homepage
    Read the FAQ [www.tv]:

    dotTV has the right to terminate your email address at its sole discretion. If your email address is terminated, you will be refunded the $1.00 annual maintenance fee.

    As soon as somebody buys those domain names you will lose your email address there.

  • by blogan ( 84463 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @04:19AM (#1143501)
    From http://www.nic.us [www.nic.us]:

    • Domain Names cannot be of the form
      (Organization).US or (Organization).(state).US.
    • The domain name for an organization, company, or individual should only be of the form
      (Organization).(Locality).(State).US
    So Microsoft would have to be microsoft.redmond.wa.us
    Not impressive. Ask some non-computer people if they know where MS HQ is. Do you know where Transmeta's HQ is? Also, if you use it for personal use, then you get stuck with a geographically centered name.

    Also from the page:
    The US Domain currently registers businesses, individuals, federal government agencies, state government agencies, K12 schools, community colleges, technical/vocational schools, private schools, libraries, museums, and city and county government agencies.

    But I don't think businesses or individuals would be useful using it.

    "Well, it's a problem with their policy then." Yes, but anyone is free to get a .com, .net, or .org name, so does it matter? Even foreigners can get it.

  • by overcode ( 103467 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @08:11AM (#1143502) Homepage
    First, Tuvalu should be congratulated for making so much money from the sale - that will really help them, and I understand why they did it.

    HOWEVER, this is yet another abuse of the Internet and in particular its system of organization. TLD's exist to logically divide the Internet and reduce namespace collision. TLD trading undermines this system. The people who bought the .tv domain (obviously for television-related sites) are contributing just a bit more to the general chaos that has befallen the once respectable Internet.

    -Reeves

  • by DMuse ( 108888 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @06:29AM (#1143503)
    I don't really see why there are country domains in a place where geography means so little. Other than governments, (which generally have a 1 to 1 relationship with countries) what is the benefit of having country codes in a domain name? It may make some sense to put country codes under the .gov TLD as SLDs (Second Level Domains). (e.g. us.gov, tv.gov, etc.)

    Hindsight is 20/20. When the TLDs were implemented the internet hardly existed. There was no concept of how revolutionary this would be. The borders were (are?) still meaningful.

    You think geography means so little but it does indeed have meaning. From a marketing point of view, companies big and small still want to often want to address a regional group of people. I heard in an interview that McDonalds Canada doesn't want to waste its advertising budget by spending on things that largely targets Americans. In a way this makes a lot of sense (it is also short-sighted.)

    The geographic TLDs could have been used much more wisely than they are. Anybody care to tell me why we have gmcanada.com [gmcanada.com] when http://gm.ca would make much more sense? General Motors isn't the only guilty party for doing stupid things like this. I don't know if the problem was that GM didn't think of http://gm.ca? Or the more likely case that I've heard horror stories about, the Canadian registrar [cdnnet.ca] and how slow they are. Looking at their application form [cdnnet.ca] I can imagine the horror stories are true.

    Geographic top level domains were and are a smart idea for organizing the domain system. You might think they were more useful had Internic been a little more intelligent and found a way to get customers to implement hierarchical domain names. That's what this system was meant for but instead in 90% of cases we have a flat dumb structure. www.variable.com. It could have been so much more useful, and we could have avoided much of the cybersquatting issues if Internic had been a little more clever.

  • by JimTheta ( 115513 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @03:42AM (#1143504) Homepage

    These guys are gonna find themselves obsolete really soon... because--

    Quick! What country has ".hdtv"?!

    -JimTheta
  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:03AM (#1143505) Homepage
    With a cool 50M, the great nation of Tuvalu will now be able to buy that used state of the art 1940 Corsair and roll it down the hill and crash it into the attacking enemy armed with rocks and sticks. Heck, If I were Tuvalu, with a mean average income per person of around 20 bucks US a year, 50M will go a long way. Most of Tuvalu doesn't have power or running water anyway, so what would they need a TLD for anyway.

  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:12AM (#1143506) Homepage
    Tuvalu is a little string of Islands, governed by the British. Since I didn't know anything about them, I looked them up on Google. Not much to tell, sort of like a little Fiji. If your interested there is a fact sheet Here [odci.gov].
  • by Miriku chan ( 168612 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @12:24AM (#1143507) Homepage
    i would like to report that i just purchased the rights to all .me domains from the small nation of melekistan.

    my company of DotMe will sell these domains at competitve pricess.

    All inquires please send to 'webmaster@screw.me'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:30AM (#1143508)
    Check out http://tuvalu.tv/ [tuvalu.tv].

    "The system is running with two Cisco 2511 and CNet modems, Redhat Linux 6.0, Compaq Proliant Server, RAID 5, 64k link to Voyager in New Zealand."

    4 telestra-abovenet-2.above.net (216.200.254.34) 27.166 ms 86.336 ms 96.562 ms
    5 Serial1-1-0.nzsx-core1.Auckland.telstra.net (203.50.126.17) 162.583 ms 162.313 ms 167.711 ms
    6 Ethernet4-0.nzsx2.Auckland.telstra.net (203.98.21.1) 162.645 ms 161.937 ms 241.194 ms
    7 FastEthernet0-0-0.nzsx1.Auckland.telstra.net.nz (203.98.21.27) 161.919 ms 163.227 ms 238.033 ms
    8 voyager.lnk.telstra.net.nz (203.98.4.134) 266.301 ms 198.937 ms 174.985 ms
    9 r1.net.auckland.voyager.co.nz (203.21.24.1) 249.199 ms 172.152 ms 174.928 ms
    10 203.110.8.58 (203.110.8.58) 734.045 ms 720.383 ms 727.140 ms
    11 fale.tuvalu.tv (202.2.96.3) 722.403 ms 793.873 ms 725.527 ms

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:41AM (#1143509)
    Please read the article. DotTV did not suddenly get ICANN to create a new TLD, they just gave the country that .tv corresponds to a cool $50mill for the ability to register domains in that country code.

    However, this is just as dangerous as if they were able to get a new TLD. The domain name *still* means something; it's not something that you should play around with to make a kEwl sounding name. Unfortunately, other small contries have allowed their country two-letter suffix be used for this, setting a bad precident. (microsoftsu.cx, for example).

    Also, IIRC, DotTV is charginge $5000 a pop per domain name. They can do this, as .tv is not maintained by NSI or ICANN, but this also sets a very poor precident. $5000 a pop means that only commercial interests will be able to register domain names here, and thus, it's going to give an edge to any major entertainment venue over a fan-run site. I strongly believe we are at a point where no single commercial organization can control the registerations for a single domain; it either has to be done by panel (ICANN) or the government. DotTV has a lot of power right now, but I suspect someone's going to look into this practice shortly.

  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:33AM (#1143510)
    The US may be culturally arrogant in many ways, but in this case you just got your history and facts wrong.

    The US taxpayer paid for the development and initial deployment of the Internet (if .COM actually were a perk rather than a nuisance, that in itself would be ample justification). .COM and friends were US domains because there were no non-US domains at all. Today, US companies still don't have a choice: .COM is their top level domain; the .US domain serves different purposes.

    It would have been nice if US companies could have moved to .CO.US or something like that when the Internet became more international, but that simply wasn't practical; after more than a decade of US .COM names, changing this would have made the lives of lots of people miserable. Besides, nobody could have foreseen the domain name craze of today, so it simply didn't seem to matter all that much.

    Rather than complaining I'd suggest actually exercising some restraint: before you, wherever you may be, try to stake out your place in .COM land, keep in mind that you are really a guest in the US name space, and that by registering your domain in .COM, you may be causing problems for US folks who really don't have any other place to go.

  • by Surak ( 18578 ) <surak.mailblocks@com> on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:36AM (#1143511) Homepage Journal
    Andover should buy slashdot.tv and slash.tv, because we all equate slashdot with watching TV ... :) Yeah, that it ... that's the ticket ....

    Sure, ms.tv, but what about micros~1.tv ? :)

  • by Velox_SwiftFox ( 57902 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:37AM (#1143512)
    Gosh darn, didn't you read their policies page! :)

    WAIVER OF CLAIMS
    By accessing or using the dotTV Site, you hereby and forever waive any and all claims you have now or may have in the future against dotTV relating to any infringement of the trademark rights, right of publicity or privacy, or other intellectual property rights you may have in any word or name used as a domain name in the .TV TLD.

    *snort*
  • by Daniel H. ( 78013 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:48AM (#1143513)
    Browsing through the http://www.tv/images/ [www.tv] directory I came across a price chart for how they determine the starting auction value for the domain names. You can check it out here: http://www.tv/images/pricing.gif [www.tv].
  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattrNO@SPAMtelebody.com> on Sunday April 09, 2000 @12:59AM (#1143514) Homepage Journal
    Bid starts at..
    1M/yr cnet.tv (owns tv.com)
    1M/yr msn.tv
    1M/yr sex.tv
    500K/yr mtv.tv
    50K/yr porn.tv
    50K/yr linux.tv
    27K/yr i.tv
    25K/yr m.tv
    25K/yr ms.tv (should someone buy this??)
    20K/yr wrestling.tv
    11K/yr n.tv
    10K/yr zd.tv (a good deal??)
    4K/yr opensource.tv (silly.. doh)
    4K/yr slash.tv (bidding war imminent??)
    1K/yr slashdot.tv (/.tv not legal..)
    1K/yr mastercard.tv (closing 4/11 (?))
    1K/yr pr0n.tv (a diamond in the rough!)

    Um, gratifying to know linux is as popular as porn.

    Idealab has something like 3 billion bucks to burn.. So the smartest thing they can do with it is try to sell beatles.tv and coke.tv to someone before they get sued? Fucking ridiculous, but maybe a good investment for them.. ouch.

    Andover, put your money where you mouth is.. How about signing ms.tv over to the fsf?
  • by Floyd Turbo ( 84609 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @03:21AM (#1143515) Journal
    This list of prices makes it pretty clear that DotTV is out to profit from other peoples' trademarks. I think it's much more likely that they're going to receive a raft of angry letters from companies' lawyers.

    For example, I'd be surprised if NBC doesn't write to these clowns, saying "if you sell nbc.tv to anyone other than us we're going to sue you for at least twenty times the sale price and get the court to order you to stop it."

    Similarly, there's no way that CNet would pay $1MM a year for cnet.tv; they've already got their own domain name and they can easily prevent anyone else from using cnet.tv.

    I'm mostly opposed to the use of intellectual property laws concerning domain names, but this is so clearly a scam that I'd be happy to see the lawyers sweep in. This is just domain squatting on a larger and greedier scale.
  • by sansbury ( 97480 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @04:09AM (#1143516)
    However, this is just as dangerous as if they were able to get a new TLD.

    What's so dangerous about this? I've been saying for a while that we need more TLDs, not tighter control over the existing three available ones.

    $5000 a pop means that only commercial interests will be able to register domain names here

    No, it means only interests able to spend more than $70 will be able to register. Just like office space on Madison Avenue, buddy. Nobody's stopping you or I from renting it.

    it either has to be done by panel (ICANN) or the government.

    Be careful what you wish for. If the government had known what the 'net would unleash, they might not have left it alone and let it spread so fast.

    DotTV has a lot of power right now

    PTTTTHBT! DotTV has a gimmick and hopes to sell some billboard space. This does not a strong, high-quality business make.

    At best, they will help bring the issue of the need for new TLDs to the fore, and maybe spur some action.

    -cwk.

  • Its funny if you do a search for the obvious domains.

    microsoft.tv they want 1,000,000
    nbc.tv they want 250,000

    Doesnt this seem kinda ridiculus, I my opnion, I dont think people should be allowed to buy out top level domains like that. For instance what if micosoft decided to buy out .linux, or even better, .org. This whole domain squatting crap is pretty sick. In the world of the internet this is a like buying a country. All this damn squatting is doing, is crowding out the other top level domain namespaces.

  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @03:11AM (#1143518) Homepage
    DotTV has agreed to pay Tuvalu $50 million in royalties over the next decade for use of the country code. The Internet start-up intends to sell the rights to Web addresses ending in ".tv," such as www.abc.tv or www.law&order.tv.

    So is this "next decade" just the time period in which they will pay the $50M for rights in perpetuity, or were the Tuvaluans smart enough to make this a ten-year contract that they could re-negotiate in 2010? And that is $50M US, right? Since it was mentioned that Tuvalu's official currency is the Australian dollar, this is an important point.

    And if zd.tv really is going for $10K/yr, I think that's not too bad of a deal for ZDTV.

    As for the trademark problem, all they have to do is NOT sell trademark names to those who don't own the trademarks in their own country. In other words, "abc.tv" could only be sold to a few specific television networks, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and "pepsi.tv" could not be sold to the Coca Cola company.

    Of course this is run by the same people who run etoys.com, so you can imagine all the fun they will have when they get to decide what you can and can't have, and for how much. And no worries that someone already got there first!
  • by pigeonhed ( 137303 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @01:22AM (#1143519) Journal
    First time a small nation made some money without having the nature resources raped. So I guess the net is enviro friendly.
  • Quoth the poster:
    It's about time we point out that the net was tiny before the invention of the web (in the UK)
    Um, what are you talking about?

    (a) The Net was not "tiny" before the Web -- there was superexponential growth long before 1993.

    (b) The Web, in the sense it was "invented" anywhere, was invented at CERN.

    (c) The Web only took off when someone called NCSA published an easy-to-use, graphical browser for it. Who was NCSA? The National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Whose "National Center"? The United States.

    (d) The US still supplies and uses the most Internet bandwidth and resources; either recently or real soon, the rest of the world together will just about equal the US usage.

    Like it or not, the Net was an American invention and remains a predominantly US space. It is changing, and rightly, but it isn't there and it's not entirely reasonable to ask the largest installed base to simply change.

    Of course, the invention of a rational TLD system would do much to redress these inequities. After all, in the end, they're just numbers.

  • by dougman ( 908 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @05:31AM (#1143521)
    I can't believe noone else has thought of this yet.

    I was so excited I plunked down $20 as a gamble of sorts that the following "hack" might fall through the cracks, or at least cause them fits at some point:

    Go to www.tv whore-site

    Notice alongside all those $1000 +++ auctions little neat table in lower left of page.

    Yes, the one about "register your favourite email address for just one dollar a year!"

    Think up the most obvious prime-real-estate .tv domain possible (i already took sex.tv, news.tv, sports.tv and others)

    Proceed to fill out form requesting webmaster@greatdomainname.tv , to be forwarded to your normal email address

    Proceed to next page, and voila! you're allowed to order.

    Unless their admins are reading this message, you're now reading a post from webmaster@sex.tv.

    (evil, EVIL snicker)

  • by David A. Madore ( 30444 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @04:14AM (#1143522) Homepage

    A mess: that's what I think the whole DNS system has become. It is being used for something which is completely unrelated to what it was designed for: it was designed as a way to associate IP addresses to computer names, and it is being used as a way to find data on the information web.

    The three-letter domains are not at all being used as they should. Essentially, any name of importance gets registered under .com, .org and .net (except, of course, just the name I happen to be looking for, which is registered in just the one I don't think it is).

    Now even two-letter domains are being used stupidly. We already have the .jump.to and .go.to silliness (.to is the country of Togo), now for the .tv silliness.

    The solution lies, I think, in developping a new distributed database (one that is truly distributed and not centralized-distributed as the DNS is) and to replace Uniform Resource Locators by the Uniform Resource Names defined in RFC 2141 [isi.edu] (not implemented) subset of Uniform Resource Identifiers.

    It is certainly worthwhile to pursue research in this direction, if only to gain insight on how distributed databases can work. Unfortunately, it will be many years before a solution can be practically implemented, even if one is found. I am afraid that organizations such as the IETF [ietf.org] are gradually being contaminated by commercial near-sightedness. But then, IPv6 development has been possible, even though it was a long-term project, so maybe a DNS replacement is not all that hopeless.

  • by anatoli ( 74215 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @12:37AM (#1143523) Homepage
    If you were from Tuvalu, you'd be very happy right now. Wow, $4700 for you -- right out of thin air! Normally, you'd have to work about 5.8 years to earn this pile of money. (Source: CIA World Factbook [odci.gov].)
    --
  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) on Sunday April 09, 2000 @02:04AM (#1143524)
    The so-called 'Internet revolution' that is supposed to be sweeping the world is going to be hard pressed to reach the small island state of Tuvalu now. Has this government sold out it's people by selling this domain or has there government pulled down a really cool score. After a quick search around the net I discovered the countries GDP is approximately US$10M, do the math, the US$1million basic yearly amount will either half the taxation of it's citizens or allow some serious infrastructure improvement. Here are some nice details about this little island state:
    LAND AREA: 26 SQ. KM.
    POPULATION: 9,500 (1994 EST.)
    GDP: US$10M (1990)
    GDP PER CAPITA: US$1,009 (1990)
    OFFICIAL CURRENCY: AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

    For more details about Tuvalu click here [hawaii.edu].

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