Tuvalu’s Big Deal: What Is It?
The Original Deal October, 1998
By Robert Cannon
Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Bikenibeu Paeniu, has recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with the Toronto based company, The .TV Corporation, for the use of the Internet domain name .TV.
The .TV Corp. won with its bid of an estimated $50 million US after the Tuvaluan government turned down a deal from the software giant, Microsoft Corp. for considerably less.President and CEO of The .TV Corp., John Chapnick says that most of the money made selling .TV addresses in the first year will be given directly to the country.
Registrations for a .TV address are a tidy $1000 and a fee of $500 must be paid to renew the address yearly."We could have sort of held them more for ransom, as perhaps Microsoft would have done," says Chapnick. The prices may seem expensive compared with the $100 registration fee for a .COM address, Chapnick says that the potential for new brand extension is enormous. Some examples he cites are Disney.tv and cartoons.tv.
Although this seems like good news for Tuvalu, some people like Jim Carrol, co-author of the Canadian Internet Directory wonder if big corporations would readily switch over to a .TV address with the current cost.Carrol says: "I think he (Chapnick) or the country of Tuvalu has been running around talking figures of $60 million or something like that. And I think anybody would need to be cautious of that. How likely is it the CBC is going to go out and pay some big sum of money to become CBC.tv?"
Chapnick thinks that it is very likely that these companies will pay because .TV is more familiar to people than .COM." We think that the potential market size is unlimited. We anticipate most clients will be media companies of all kinds."Chapnick also says that auctions will be held if there is a more than one company vying for one address and that it will be given to the highest bidder. However it won’t stop individuals from buying an address like nbc.tv or fox.tv and then re-selling the rights back to the networks for a huge amount of money.
How did Tuvalu end up with the .TV suffix in the first place? It was assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) based on its International Standards Organization (ISO) country code.
"We are delighted this agreement will improve not only the Tuvaluan standard of living, but permit us to help other South Pacific nations," says Paeniu. Initial uses of the money will go towards communication with the outer islands and the rest of the world, including the establishment of e-mail and the internet in Tuvalu, according to the Prime Minister.
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