Few tech startups understand the origins of their clever domain names.
David Meyer of Gigaom published a story this morning titled “The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal.”
The story explains the country code top level domain name nature of .io and the history of its people. Technically, .io is for British Indian Ocean Territory, and the money flows to the British government.
The article is likely to be an eye opener for some of the tech firms using .io. Not just because of Meyer’s angle on how the people of the islands got screwed, but that the domain name stands for a location.
Country code domain names have become quite popular in the past decade. Some have risen to popularity as they’ve been commercialized (e.g. .tv, .me, .co). Others have become popular because they’re catchy (e.g. .ly, .io).
Few people realize the origins of these domains. I suspect that people would have been much more concerned with funding the government of Muammar Gaddafi than funneling money to the UK government for islands involved in a land deal that displaced a small number of inhabitants.
That’s not to mention the real threat owners of these domains faced during the Arab Spring.
If nothing else, I hope Meyer’s article opens up peoples’ eyes to the origins of their domain names.