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VeriSign Buys .tv 266

Mike Damm writes: "As everyone is so worried about Microsoft these days, another monopoly is slipping through the cracks. VeriSign has paid the country of Tuvalu $45 million in cash for The .TV Corporation, as stated by this press release. Same great service, different obscure TLD!"
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VeriSign Buys .tv

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  • At least... (Score:1, Insightful)

    At least Tuvalu is getting some money for its citizens (or dictator, or royal family - I'm not up on Tuvalian politics) with the sale of the .tv extension. Here in the US we just let corporations make money off of our extensions with no return to the taxpayer.
    • Can you please clarify how "corporations make money off our extensions with no return to the taxpayer?". Unless there's some great conspiracy selling off .US domains, I think most of the Slashdot crowd (me included) has no idea what you're referring to.
      • I think he's talking about that NSI was given .com, .net and .org to administer originally by NSF or DARPA when they got sick of doing it themselves. They then started charging for the domain names, even though they had been given no mandate to do so. Once they figured out it was a really profitable business, they fought tooth and nail to keep out other registrars. IIRC, they still have some monopoly control over the domain database until 2010 or the ICANN people decide they want a bigger slice.

        It's just another example of a vague, unspecified government giveaway that turns into a free money monopoly for big business.
        • They then started charging for the domain names, even though they had been given no mandate to do so.

          That's not true at all -- Before, the NSF was paying NSI $70 for every registration. That was the original contract they agreed to with NSI.

          After a while, the NSF said, "We can't afford to keep paying for everyone's domain registration!" and renegotiated the contract with NSI such that NSI would charge end users directly.

          Still, there were protests. They went like this:

          "I shouldn't have to pay you for a domain! Change things back the way they used to be!"

          "Oh, you mean you want everyone's tax dollars to pay for domain registration?"

          "Uh, gee, i mean, uh..."
    • Re:At least... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nomadic ( 141991 )
      According to the CIA world factbook it's a constitutional monarchy. Of 10,000 people. Which just quintupled it's GDP.

      What I don't understand is how they can sell it twice; I thought they already sold it a while ago [].

      I'm not sure why Verisign would give that much. I mean, does anyone actually buy .tv domain names?
      • Re:At least... (Score:3, Informative)

        by ocbwilg ( 259828 )
        IIRC, they (Tuvalu) sold the rights to a company that formed the .tv corporation. Verisign looks like they just bought the company, which in theory would mean that Tuvalu got no money from the deal (unless they retained some sort of interest in the company that was formed).
      • > According to the CIA world factbook it's a
        > constitutional monarchy. Of 10,000 people.

        Technically, yeah, but read down a little further and you find out their constitutional monarch is--Queen Elizabeth II! So the local prime minister/parliament really are running the show; difficult to tell from the Factbook entry how democratic they are; current prime minister took over because last one dropped dead of a heart attack (best rule of thumb to how much true democracy there is in a "democracy" is to see how often the head honcho changes because of an election).

        Chris Mattern
        • Umm...yes, I had already read that, I don't see how the identity of their monarch affects what I said.

          Curiously enough, the Queen seems to actually wield some power in Tuvalu's case, appointing (via the Governor-General) the cabinet after consulting with the prime minister. Then the cabinet elects the next prime minister. Actually an interesting little closed system, with power circulating among a few people who can continually vote themselves another term. Not exactly democratic, but I think it's hard for a state with a population of 10,000 (less than half the size of my old college!) to be truly despotic.
    • Re: At least... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jonathunder ( 105885 )
      Tuvalu [] is a democracy. Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch, represented by a governor general, who has mostly ceremonial power. Actual power is in an elected council and prime minister.

      Tuvalu is also quite poor; a group of sandy islands with few natural resorces and little industry. The gov't gets much of its money from selling stamps and coins. And now, from selling its TLD for $45 million. Great deal for them, probably.
  • ... at least we don't have to worry about!
  • A) they are so not a monopoly... not by any stretch of the imagination.

    B) They haven't screwed me over yet, unlike certain other registrars with the tokens "domains" "at" "cost" and "ca" in their domain address.
    • I hear ya. Canadian domain registries just plain suck!
    • Re:Monopoly? (Score:3, Informative)

      by realdpk ( 116490 )
      Can you explain why you think that Verisign doesn't have a monopoly on .com domains? They get $6/year on every .com domain registered, regardless of who you're paying.
      • That's not a monopoly. That means they are the supplier of the services. everyone can profit off them, and quite honestly, as I said, they are much more honest and reliable than half the other registrars out there, so I wouldn't really care if they were a monopoly (or at least part of an oligopolism of some sort).
  • This isn't really still a big deal is it? I'm sure there's still plenty of good dotcom addresses if you're creative enough. And plus this country got some cash, good for them.

    Oh and of course you can always change your root :)
  • by GdoL ( 460833 )
    Now MS can buy to sell its XBox.
  • I'm sure that if Verisign wanted, for a few extra million they could have bought Tuvalu itself. It's only 26 sq km, but it'd be great for a Sealand-type tax haven.
  • I remember reading the Wired article about the nation of Tuvala a couple of years ago during the heady days of the dot-com rush. My, my how times have changed. Now with the majority of internet users in the U.S. accessing the internet through a portal (AOL, Yahoo) do TLDs even matter? I mean $100,000 for or or Didn't VerSign have a valuation of USD 10 billion at one point?
    God, I'm glad the bubble crashed so I can get back to the Mac vs. Windows debate with my friends.
    • I remember the exact same article. The guy teamed up with them to get exclusive marketing and registration rights to the .tv TLD and he would share the profits with them. I never thought it would fly.

      There's still .fm .am out there Fromosia (sp?) and some other place.

  • loses $44.8 million dollars on the .tv registry.

    I can't believe people are still dealing out big cash for lame TLDs, what is this, '98?
  • by T3kno ( 51315 )
    Two questions, why would anyone use Veri$ign when there are so many alternatives. And why would you want a suck tld like .tv or .cc when I just bought a 4 letter .com domain name yesterday.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    . . . for the imminent projected growth of she-male porn sites, which will, logically, desire a name in the .tv space.


  • I have had nothing but problems with Verisign, they are a monopoly of sorts and know it, and generally treat their customers like dirt. Not only that but they charge 35 bucks a year for a domain, about twice what everyone else charges, and you don't get any value add services for that extra cash, unless you count the weekly Verisign SPAM fest you get, even if you opt out of their newsletter, which is SPAM too.

    Personally I would like to see another class action against Verisgin (I belive there was or is currently one going on). The government has given them too much power and they simply abuse it. Buying the .tv domain is just another sign of the times.

    What is next? The Weyland Corporation running everything?
  • Off topic, I know, but that sure is a funky name for a country...Makes you think that they got into computers JUST to market on the .tv abreviation (or they named their country that just because they got into computers). --theKiyote
  • If there was a decent choice of domain name suffixes, this kind of thing would not be needed. All of the new suffixes that were of any use were not approved, and now companies are exploiting this fact to make money.

    Why not have a domain especially for television stations, auction sites, brick and mortar stores, and xxx sites? Finding what we want (and avoiding what we don't) would be tons easier, and there wouldn't have to be monopolies on small countries' domain names to make it possible.

  • Is this like when the Indians sold whatever it was to whoever it was for a handful of trinkets? (Hey, leave me alone, I'm a software tester not a history buff and the elementary teacher in the cube next to me doesn't remember the details either...)

    The story says VeriSign bought .tv, but the prime minister seems to be under the impression that they are taking over management, or at least that's the impression I got from the article...
    • The story says VeriSign bought .tv, but the prime minister seems to be under the impression that they are taking over management, or at least that's the impression I got from the article...

      Well, the Prime Minister is correct, the poster is wrong. Tuvalu sold the rights to .tv two years ago [] to a company called Idealab for $50 million. So Idealab lost money. Now Verisign is buying it for less than that. Big deal.

  • by joshamania ( 32599 ) <> on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @03:25PM (#2889647) Homepage
    Didn't anyone tell Verisign that the dot com bubble burst? What? Do they expect to get $10 million a piece from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and CNN and run away with a $5 million profit? I don't get it. IIRC, domain speculation has pretty much gone bust too, and this seems to be that...

    • You know the implosion after the Internet explosion has fooled a lot of people in thinking that there is NO money on the net: In reality there are billions. If CBS figures that Joe Sixpack will have a easier time remembering, then they'll poney up the money for it. There are billions of dollars circling the globe daily for generally trivial things, so a logical URL doesn't seem that bizarre.

  • This may be very old news [], in any case, how does this relate to DotTV mentioned in the linked article?
  • Lessee...checking .tv corporation website...

    Yes! domain name is available! $50/year!

    Maybe I'm mistaken, but wasn't there already a .tv TLD that got in trouble over the name?

    Man, if I only had a fixed IP address... :)
  • This story happened over 1 year ago.

    Wake up please!
    • Tuvalu sold .tv a year ago. Now Verisign bought the company they sold it to. Easy to be confused, but no need to SHOUT about it.
  • I guess the one advantageous aspect of this continued dispersion of control over TLD's is that there are so many options at this point for registered addresses.

    It is getting to the point that people that are trying to squat on thousands of addresses would go broke trying to maintain them all.
  • Has there even been a large rush to register '.tv' domains??? I don't remember one time ending up at a site with a '.tv' domain.

    I could see television stations wanting one, but for other people there are plenty of other options including the new .info and .biz domains.

  • Who actually uses .tv domain names for their main web site ?
    Frankly, most TV channels prefer to have a .com web site (Mostly because it came first...) and eventually by the corresponding .tv in order to avoid plagiarism... Look at CNN(.com and .tv).

    Now, my other problem is about .tv TLD buy : how can somebody buya TLD which isactually a standard and, as such, not for sale ?
  • Fun with numbers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nesneros ( 214571 )
    This is a HELL of a lot of money. In 1995, Tuvalu had only 10,000 people, meanin this averages out to $4500 a person. At a similar per-person rate, .us should go for around $1.35e12, which would just about take care of half the national debt. .cn could be bought for 10% of the world's entire GDP
    for 2000.

    Numbers are fun.
  • Is this 100% firm? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eples ( 239989 )
    From the small text at the bottom of the press release:

    Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

    Looks to me like it hasn't yet been approved by the SEC? I can't imagine they'd have a problem with it, but it's not really news until the deal is firm.
    • This statement is SOP for any publicly traded company. You see, a company makes a statement, an investor acts based upon that statement, and if the stock ends up going south because the statement proves false somehow (a merger doesn't go through, product delay, whatever) the investor might think he can sue the company. Therefore, all publicly traded companies have some sort of "forward looking statement" disclaimer that says "hey... we're just guessing, here." It's a very complex way of abdicating responsibility.

      My wife is an investment banker, and she sent me an email telling me to pick up milk on the way home from work, and the server automatically appended that disclaimer onto the bottom of the message. Trust me, my milk purchasing habits are not pending SEC approval.

  • by isomeme ( 177414 ) <> on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @03:33PM (#2889737) Homepage Journal
    from the throat-singers-need-not-apply dept.
    Cute one, but just for the record, Tuvalu [] != Tuva [].
    • My parent comment to this one is currently moderated as follows:

      Troll=1, Informative=3, Overrated=1, Underrated=1, Total=6.

      The 'troll' mod in particular makes me a bit confused, but both the 'under' and 'overrated' are odd, too. Is there some storm of oddball mods going on?

  • As I recall, Tuvalu has a slight problem with rising sea levels. Unless something happens soon, the entire country will disappear beneath the Pacific. And, to bastardize Eddie Izzard, no country, no TLD.
  • I think InterNIC should step in and stop this deal. 2 letter TLD's are supposed to be used as contry TLD. This is a convention as old as the Internet itself (and I'm sure will be in a RFC somewhere.) It does not make sense for a TLD that was reserved for a country to be sold or bargained for commercial interest. .tv was 'given' to Tuvalu to manage, not sell. It doesn't technically belong to them. The standard belongs to everyone. If Tuvalu doesn't want to manage their TLD, that's fine. But VeriSign should not be allowed to step in and munge the standard to sell .tv the way you would a .com.

    • Tuvalu sold the extension a year ago. Done deal, ancient history. THIS story is about the fact that now Verisign bought the company they sold it to.
  • by Evanrude ( 21624 ) <david@fattyc o . o rg> on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @03:36PM (#2889758) Homepage Journal
    Why should it matter to us that Verisign bought the thing in the first place? The only reason you might need to worry is if you feel like the TLD is some sort of hot commmodity that will increase VeriSign's market position. Then, you have to ask yourself if you even care about their market position.
    Personally, I don't think that the ".tv" domain will make any kind of big splash without a major marketing push. People look for ".com", then ".net", then ".org". Anything beyond those major TLDs rarely crosses the mind of most surfers. Hell, most people (who don't deal with it every day) have to be *reminded* about ".gov", thus the success of (link intentionally left un-linked. ;-) )
    • Good point. I don't think I've ever been to a ".tv", nor would I be inclined to go to one. I'd not think to try it automatically, and if I saw one in an ad I'd likely think it was about as important as an infomercial at 2am.

      Just my opinion, though. Good point! If I had mod points, I'd throw one your way.


    • People look for ".com", then ".net", then ".org". Anything beyond those major TLDs rarely crosses the mind of most surfers. Hell, most people (who don't deal with it every day) have to be *reminded* about ".gov", thus the success of (link intentionally left un-linked. ;-) )

      Don't forget the secretive .mil TLD

      Wait, no, I didn't say that!
      I'm probably a threat to (U.S.) national security now.
    • Yes it does really matter.

      Verisign does not have good service. But anyone with a .com gives money to Verisign because they have no choice. (You might think that registering with someone like means you aren't supporting Verisign, but you'd be wrong - any accredited registrar pays Verisign $6 per year for every domain they register.)

      By buying .tv, Verisign has reduced consumer options. Maybe not much, but every little bit makes their strangle hold that much tighter.
  • carefully displayed by M.TV []

    I just keep think of the Dire Straits song: "I want my M.TV..."
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @03:37PM (#2889775) Homepage Journal
    I believe that one of the conditions that Tuvalu originally gave Verisign, Network Solutions, or whatever it was called back then, for the right to sell .tv names was that the Tuvalu govt would get some royalties to be put back towards developing Tuvalu's own Internet/IT infrastructure.

    Is this $45 million a one time lump sum, and is so, does this mean that Tuvalu itself has completely given up ownership of its domain (so if a Tuvalu company wanted to register, they'd have to go through Verisign like everyone else?)
    • I think you're overestimating the size or importance of Tuvalu, which is just a couple of specs in the ocean (and around 10,000 inhabitants). Tuvalu could rebuild its internet/IT infrastructure if Verisign simply donated to them the used equipment that they throw away.

      The country basically lives off a trust fund established years ago, and makes money from selling off phone numbers from its 900 area code and (previously) its .tv domain.
  • by roybadami ( 515249 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @03:38PM (#2889779)
    When the country of Tuvalu finally sinks under the sea (which may happen in 50 years, maybe sooner), I hope that ICANN doesn't bow to pressure to let the domain continue after the ISO3166 country code is withdrawn...

    I'm rather taken aback that the British parliament recently launched a web site at The home page just says 'live webcasting of parliament' without even mentioning which parliament they broadcast.

    I think it would be reasonable to assume that they must be broadcasting the parliament of Tuvalu... :)
    • or maybe old P-Funk videos. All George Clinton, all the time. Make way for the Mothership.
    • When the country of Tuvalu finally sinks under the sea (which may happen in 50 years, maybe sooner), I hope that ICANN doesn't bow to pressure to let the domain continue after the ISO3166 country code is withdrawn...
      I don't know ICANN policy on this, but I would hope that no country code will ever be withdrawn. After all, historical data (and data about history) would continue to make use of these codes.
      • I don't know ICANN policy on this, but I would hope that no country code will ever be withdrawn. After all, historical data (and data about history) would continue to make use of these codes.

        Well, the .KW TLD did go away completely for a little while at one point (due to the minor disruptions associated with the invasion of the Iraqi army). That was before VeriSign and ICANN, though....

        It's back now [], of course.

  • I think it was about a year ago, for a couple months I heard a bunch of radio ads about how popular the .tv TLD was going to be. Of course, I wrote it off as marketing hype and assumed at the time it was another .biz in the making that just hadn't quite been released yet. I didn't realize it was the TLD of a country. I never bothered to catch the name of any sponsoring corporation at the time, as it wasn't something I planned to invest a whole lot of effort researching, and I haven't heard the ads in a long time now.

    Sounds to me like VeriSign, or perhaps some other bidder was attempting to hype up the potential for it before they were able to obtain it. Or perhaps it was the country doing it, in anticipation of a large sale. Who knows.

  • I think they have purchased like 20 of them so far
  • a private tld (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishebulb ( 257214 )
    I really wish a TLD for individual use would be created. Where anything goes. Trademarked names, no problem. Only individuals could use this. If it could be enforced it would be nice. Companies would try and complain saying it would confuse customers. but if it has the extension, you know it cant be affiliated with a company.
  • $100,000 for the premium domain

  • The best recourse is to encourage all Transvestites to register their vanity pages to .tv domains. Imagine a TV Exec asking his tech guy if they should get a .TV domain.

    "Uh, sir, that domain is used by men that wear women's clothing!", says the techie.

    "Damn, you mean like those joke photos from the InterWeb Mail that I get from my golfing buddies?", retorts the boss.

    "Uh, yea, I-I-I think so...", quivers the techie.

    As my mom always said, "Payback is a bitch!".

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @04:02PM (#2889950) Journal
    In other news, Microsoft buys .NET TLD from Verisign for 4.5 Billion.
    • While I know it is a joke, it's humour is quite close to the bone! But first should it not read "Microsoft buys .net TLD from ICANN for 4.5 Billion"? And does anyone know if their is anything to prevent ICANN from selling a tld it controls, i.e. letting MS buy .net so it can do what it pleases with it (probably selling domains to .net distributed e-commerce redundant application protocol platform ecoculture sculptors)?
    • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @06:13PM (#2890674) Homepage
      Microsoft has decided to follow VeriSign's lead and has bought it's own country.

      Microsoft is now proud to announce several sites in it's new domain:

      and, the ever popular

      • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @08:01PM (#2891216) Journal
        <SARCASM TYPE=prediction OFFTOPIC=1>

        January 23, 2003 -- WASHINGTON

        Chief Terrorist Whacker Bush today announced a fundamental change to the commonly used system for internet addresses.

        "I went to this interweb site to buy some more helicopters for the army and I realized I have no way of knowing if this is a terrorist organization. How do I know that the money I am spending on helicopters to help our future isn't going to some Yahoo in Somalia? So I picked up the bat phone and called Vice Whacker Cheney and said, 'Dick, we need to change this.'"

        Bush's new system does away with the .com, .net, .edu, .info, .musuem, .name, and .org "top level domains," as well as all country-specific TLDs. They will be replaced with two TLDs: .us and .them.

        Web site owners can register .us domains at their local DMV (or equivalent Motor Vehicle Administration), where they will be required to furnish a social security number, photo ID, and finger prints. The old addressing system is slated to be shut down in March 31.

        "Most of the Web sites I need already have the .us designation thanks to some forward thinking by my friends at ICANN, so I don't foresee too much of a problem here," Bush said.

  • It amazes me how verisign can take $45 million dollars and spend it to buy another TLD, but they can't be bothered to answer support requests from their own customers without a 2 week waiting period.
    • So switch to another registrar. They don't hold any sort of monopoly on domain registration.

      When people complain about VeriSign, it's always about the customer service. But the part of VeriSign that has end-user customers, the registrar, is NOT a monopoly.

      The part of VeriSign that has a monopoly is the Registry, and nobody ever complains about their customer service, because the registry's only customers are the registrars.
  • Dammit! is already snagged [], but thank G-D that is still available for a paltry $400/year []! What a bargain!

    Seriously though, .tv corporation's sliding scale pricing policy [] is pretty scary, as it charges more for "more desireable", but unregistered, names. I don't doubt that Verisign will continue such a nasty practice. I just hope they don't try to apply it to other TLD's. I know that they shouldn't be able too, but when has that ever stopped them. Maybe that is why they are hoarding expired domain names [].
  • by eufaula ( 163352 ) on Wednesday January 23, 2002 @04:12PM (#2890001) Journal
    as a few other people have pointed out, Tuvalu is a country of a few small islands and a population of around 11,000. the country has hardly any natural resources, and covers only 26 square kilometers. According to countrywatch [], they have no real resources of revenue and have established a trust fund to try to make sure that their country has money to survive into the future. the article at this page [] says that the country's largest source of revenue is from the .tv domain. their only other real source of revenue (aside from fishing lisc) is a phosphate mine that is going to be depleted this year.

    i guess what i am trying to get at is that they arent doing it because some corporation has forced them into doing it, but they did it because they needed the money. domains may not be popular forever and at least they are trying to be self sufficient instead of simply sitting back and relying on others to foot their bills. the US$37M in their trust fund wont last forever. US$45M goes a long way. and they are doing some pretty neat things with it (education for life programs, etc...). ok so it may not be the best way to finance a government, but when its the only one you've got....
  • Get your history [] straight. .TV Corporation came into existence in the domain name squatter rush and that is when the island of Tuvalu got paid. VeriSign just bought the .TV Corporation since it was a stupid frigging idea to begin with. But at least the 10,000 people of Tuvalu get a minimum $4 million per year.
  • Considering that's close to four times Tuvalu's GDP. Maybe they'll pave the road. =]
  • Is it just me, or is it crazy to think that the .tv tld could garner more then 45 million in revenues over a relativly short period of time. Why not keep it and reap the rewards? Is tuvalu that cash starved?
  • What is it, exactly, they are trying to accomplish here?
  • Actually the water level is rising. They will be the first nation wiped off the face of the planet as the result of global warming. They have no idea where all the people will go, but their nation will cease to exist.
  • MPAA's new site which lists new tv copy protection.


  • We should copy SeaLand and simply find our own patch of undeveloped abandoned offshore island and form our own government. Hey... Ironically .GPV is still available... And it's a good typo away from .GOV..... I wonder where whitehouse.GPV should point...
  • I can see the TV ads now, Tim Curry in drag singing "I'm just a sweet tranvestite, get your tv right now."

    Maybe during the Super Bowl...Now that would be a commercial to see. Worth staying in front of the TV...

    I want a cut if you do it, Verisign!!!
  • At least "intellectual property" (e.g. software, art) has something sorta real attached to it, even if it's not always tangible. But this is even less tangible. Domains are just a contract with ICANN, whose policies the root server operators presumably obey.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with buying and selling contracts (e.g. commodities futures) but at least there's something real behind these contracts (e.g. the commodities themselves) even if you never see it. But a contract with ICANN is just .. nothing. It's absolutely blind faith with nothing backing it up, except inertia. I thought currency not backed by gold was bad, but at least it has society's approval: we print "This note is legal tender" on it and approximately 100% of the population wants it to have value. But this, unlike money, is something that most regular people don't care about. If someone makes it easy to switch namespaces and gives them a decent reason to do it, people will abandon it.

    These guys just risked 45 megabucks on something as robust as Win^H^H^H a snowflake.

    The thing is, now they are going to have to treat this domain, as if it were property, to make their investment have meaning. This means they must spend even more money on lawyers, lobbyists, and other expenses in order to maintain the status quo for DNS and the DNS-using population. Alternate roots will be frowned upon, and something like a completely overhaul of the namespace, simply cannot be allowed to happen.

    Fortunately for them, most ISPs these days are owned by megacorps, who will be happy to make deals to insure stability. But it's still a pretty precarious situation. I hope these guys aren't part of my mutual fund.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"