The Inside Story Of The Fastest Growing TLD .TK Adding 1M Registrations Per Month It’s Free & Soon #1

Over the last couple of Verisign Domain Industry Brief (March 2012 here, December 2011 here) one ccTLD has seemingly come out of nowhere to become the third largest ccTLD in terms of registration.

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.

Yes million.

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).



  1. says

    Terrorism, Money, the Internet, and ICANN

    ICANN plows forward with their extortionist scheme to enrich the anointed “gold rush domainer” domain-industrial complex with a plethora of new top-level domains (gTLDs) — regardless of the massive confusion and expenses this causes to the vast majority of the Internet community — and appears poised to endorse further global expansion of using the DNS as a “no trial necessary” copyright enforcement and free speech suppression mechanism. Unfortunate collateral damage.

  2. says

    ?? “The Fastest Growing TLD” ??

    You may want to check with Microsoft to see how “fast” their new Peer-2-Peer DNS is growing.

    The Microsoft patents show they are using the .0 (dotZero) TLD for the FREE domains.

    A new version of Windows with FREE registrations could easily add a million domains a DAY not per month. The domains are simply used to store AAAA records with 128-bits of data. That is a Key-Value system that anyone can use
    for FREE. The domain name is the Key and the 128 bits are the Value.

    Recall the old Windows Registry for another Key-Value system.

    See also regedit.EXE

  3. Back in the real World says

    I cant be bothered to find the story, but new tlds will get search rank blah blah:

    Matt Cutts

    I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain (TLDs). They made this claim: “Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent? Quite simply, yes it will.”

    Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.

  4. Michael H. Berkens says


    TK isn’t a new gTLD nor is it new so has nothing to do with the Cutts statement

    OBVIOUSLY if the 45 million owned domains generate 5 million visitors a day almost none is coming in from type in traffic and all of its coming from search engine traffic.

  5. Michael H. Berkens says

    Again this is not a new TLD is a ccTLD, just a different and interesting method for making money with it.

    I haven’t applied for any new gTLD’s, as part of we are working with new gTLD applicants and didn’t feel we could compete with them by going and operating our own clients.

  6. Jp says

    So where are The Parked pages? On all the currently unregistered &/or expired domains?

    Clever. Probably quite profitable.

  7. says

    “just a different and interesting method for making money”

    Wait until the ICANN gTLD “Applicants” find out how much they have to pay to be **resolved** (visible) in consumer devices.

    Are you factoring Annual Resolving Charges (ARC) into your existing domain portfolio and new gTLDs ?

    The TK top level domain is **resolved** for free because their domains are free.

    It is too bad you did not make it to the insider meetings in Costa Rica.

  8. says

    My take is that the traffic those names receive isn’t from search engines but from former websites previously developed on them.

  9. says

    “the traffic those names receive isn’t from search engines”

    Correct. The TK domain has been used for many years for various DNS experiments.

    Software running in PCs and consumer devices and home routers can AUTO-Generate TK names for various reasons.

    An **experiment** from 5 years ago may have ended but queries may still be popping up because people do not change their software.

    As an example experiment, ALL of the .COM name-space was mapped to TK so a query would FIRST be sent for TheDomains.TK before checking the .COM servers.

    It is not fair to explain to ICANN Applicants how the (new) DNS software works because it may give them an edge gaming the process. It would be like telling people how the slot machine software works in the .CASINO

    ICANN is lining up thousands ready to have a pull of the lever for $185,000
    Maybe they will get two t-shirts this time.

  10. says

    One more interesting fact from Terms and Conditions: “As of January 1st, 2007, these minimum use requirements are as follows: Each member is required to generate an aggregate of at least twenty-five (25) page views during 90 days.”

  11. Back in the real World says

    MHB –

    Sorry mate I wasnt talking about this article, its another article it relates to.

  12. Tony says

    I see you can buy a two letter domain for a hefty price that you can’t with any other registrar or tld. I wonder if you can pay for the first year and then move the domain to another registrar for a more normal yearly price.

    Something I noticed is is for sale. What happens after you buy a domain from them and they sale?

  13. says

    “That traffic is monetized by the registry by parked pages…”

    Consider the next step…

    That traffic is monetized by the RESOLVER by parked (interactive) pages.

    The Resolvers are in the various consumer devices like TVs and WIFI Routers.

    Consumers OPT-IN to their Resolver of Choice unlike DNSChanger

    http: // www. circleid. com/posts/feds_ask_for_dnschanger_deadline_extension/

  14. says

    thanks to MostWantedDomains

    v’d like 2 operate some-thing like .tk
    on our _SHORTEST_ dn’s
    v dont know how ,
    v have inquired various experts for that ,
    incl – so-called ntld “experts” ,
    they said they dont know ,
    incl – Man* , Key* …

    i suggest to help us to locate out
    ‘the necessary softwares,etc ,

    u can take us as a “`guinea-pig””

    thanks , best , 2W

  15. says

    Isn’t .tk some gaint scam?

    Also do you know how long it takes before you can re-register a free .tk domain once it been taken from you?


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