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Business Advice

Think '.com' is too common? Apply for '.shop'

It may have a better global appeal
The Straits Times - December 5, 2011
By: Melissa Tan
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Think '.com' is too common? Apply for '.shop'

SINGAPORE businesses can now apply to get rid of the '.com' at the end of their Web addresses and substitute something that reflects their business like '.shop'.

The global governing body for Internet addresses has given Singapore the green light for a new programme that allows businesses to register for their very own top level domain (TLD).

Icann (Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved this new programme in Singapore in June this year.

A TLD is a Web domain at the highest level used on the Net.

The '.com' domain is a TLD that has been around since 1985.

Entrepreneurs can also register for generic TLDs such as '.shop' or '.doctor', and lease them to relevant businesses.

Mr Adrian Kinderis, chief executive of ARI Registry Services, said that there was not enough awareness among entrepreneurs about this business opportunity.

ARI offers consultancy services to firms that want to submit TLD applications to Icann.

Of the 200 local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed in September, 57 per cent said they were likely to register a Web address under a new TLD related to their industries, a poll commissioned by ARI found.

The survey also found that the Singapore SMEs were willing to pay a premium to own an industry-specific Web address: up to 39 per cent more than they already pay for a Web address.

'Domains like '.shop' will have huge global appeal,' he said.

The '.shop' TLD could generate an estimated $310,000 a year from Singapore retail stores alone, ARI said in a statement.

Firms and entrepreneurs that want to capitalise on this will have to act fast.

Applications open on Jan 12 and close on April 12, but Mr Kinderis said it could take about two months to prepare an application.

Applicants will also have to foot a hefty bill. The application alone will cost US$185,000 (S$238,000). Also, owning a TLD will cost up to around US$100,000 a year paid to a registry service provider.

Mr Kinderis said several big corporations here, in the telecommunications and finance sectors, are planning to submit applications to own a custom TLD.

 

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