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Buy a domain and get a free mask—and a gun

This domain name registrar has an interesting promotion to combat the novel coronavirus.

Picture of woman doctor wearing surgical gloves and putting on a surgical mask
Free with purchase.

When you watch news about China these days, you may often see a masked nurse pointing a gun at a patient’s forehead. It’s not a real gun but actually an infrared thermometer that measures the forehead temperature without making any contact with the patient.

Now, there are people who see opportunities in a crisis. On March 1, Chinese domain registrar West.cn launched a marketing campaign to promote the Chinese IDN extension .在线 (online).

This is how it works. If you register a .在线 (online) domain, you get 20 free masks. If you register for multiple years, you get multiple sets of the masks, for example, 5 x 20 for 5-year registration. If you register for 10 years, you get a free thermometer gun as well. For domain renewal, the bargain works mostly the same.

The marketing campaign may be aggressive. However, when you look at the big picture, .在线 (online) is not rosy at all. Since its launch in 2014, the extension has gained only 27,000 domain registrations as of this writing. It peaked in 2018 with 48,000 registrations and since then has been going down.

Namestat includes the top 10 sales for this extension but all of them happened in 2015.

Domain Meaning Sale Price Date
贷款.在线 Loan.online $75,000 2015
游戏.在线 Game.online $25,388 2015
赌场.在线 Casino.online $25,000 2015
租赁.在线 Rent.online $15,500 2015
比特币.在线 Bitcoin.online $14,388 2015
名表.在线 FamousWatch.online $6,400 2015
销售.在线 Sales.online $5,588 2015
优惠.在线 Discount.online $4,100 2015
买卖.在线 Buyandsell.online $3,100 2015
赚钱.在线 Makemoney.online $2,550 2015

In short, the marketing campaign may be creative but the future of the .在线 (online) extension is not bright.

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