The extension is is .TK and its the ccTLD of the tiny island nation of Tokelau located in the South Pacific, population 1,268.
As of publication the extension has almost 8 Million active domain names, and adding around 1 million per Month.
At the rate of growth it should overtake .Uk which just passed the 10 million domain mark on Thursday to become the worlds 2nd largest ccTLD in less than 3 months and not long after than will pass .De to become the number one ccTLD.
During the ICANN meeting I had a chance to sit down with Joost Juurbier the CEO of Freedom Registry the operator of the .TK registry.
How did this ccTLD from a small island which did not even make Verisign’s Domain Industry Report a year ago suddenly become the 3rd largest ccTLD?
.TK domains are Free.
Although the extension was approved in 2005, Verisign until recently refused to include the extension in its reports because .TK domain names are free.
So the extension didn’t go from zero registrations a year ago to 8 Million overnight but its now growing at 1 million new registrations per month with around 250,000 dropping domains per month
You can go to the .Registry and register a .TK domain for free, no credit card required.
Of course there are strings:
You can registered your domain name for between 1-12 months however you need to have the domain live, with content, not simply parked or within 72 hours of registration or the domain will be taken away.
You can use a .TK domain to re-direct to another domain but once again there must resolve to a site. Matter of fact according to the Registry approximately 20% of all .TK domains are re-directed to sites residing on other domain names.
The registry by agreement of the country does not allow ANY adult images on any .TK domain name, nor do they allow any of the domains to be used for gambling sites.
The .TK Registry has an immediate take down policy for abuse including any domain they find engaging in Spam, the distribution of Malware or viruses and doesn’t allow any domain to be used for phishing.
The .Tk Registry uses a combination of people checking on 1,200 domain per hour to see if they are in compliance along with content filter and virus software.
Any .TK domain containing either adult images including any nudity or used for gambling will be taken back by the registry.
The countries with the most registrants of .TK domains are China; Vietnam; Peru; India; Russia, Indonesia and Turkey.
All previously owned, non-renewed domain names, plus those that were taken back by the registry for non-compliance with its rules wind up being owned and retained by the registry.
There are 45 Million domains owned by the registry.
Those 45 Million domain names generate 5 Million visitors a day.
That traffic is monetized by the registry by parked pages (yes the same type of pages they do not allow registrants to have on .TK domains).
The registry declined to say how much money was being generated from those parked pages but they did say that the .TK registry was now the second largest revenue producer for the country.
The registry has a TM protection program which monitors .TK domain registrations for infringement which costs vary from for free to up to $799 per month, depending on the level of service.
You can also buy a .TK domain in which case your domain shows up in the whois record and the domain holder as the owner.
Out of almost 8 million domains, 400,00 are paid.
Single letter or number .TK domain names are available for an annual fee of $2,500 a year.
Freedom Registry is headquartered in Palo Alto California and there plans call to add more ccTLD’s in like fashion in the coming year(s).