This is a guest post by Alan Ezeir who is the Founder & President of Global Domains International, Inc which owns and operates the .WS registry which is the ccTLD of Samoa. I found it an interesting read not just for .WS domains but for all short domains in China.
The following was written by Mr. Ezeir and was published unedited:
“”I recently went to China with no expectations, just hoping to learn and understand why we are seeing a surge of interest in .WS domains from Chinese registrants. Is there an opportunity there? Is the opportunity long-term? I teamed up with Ken Hansen of Zhongguo Ventures to visit China and learn more about how the country’s domain name industry continues to thrive. Even considering my experience and Ken’s expertise, we weren’t prepared for the robust domain market we were to discover during our trip.
Over a two-week span we ventured through Beijing, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai; a 7,000 mile trip in total. We met with registrars, investors, and technology and service partners within China. The entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to “take a chance,” “go against the grain,” and just plain “try something new” is abundant there.
I have started six businesses and invested in fifteen companies, but I have never seen a group of entrepreneurs like those I met in China.
The businesses we visited were very diverse. Many of them had been operating for over a decade and had hundreds of thousands of customers and millions of domains under management. Others were newly minted, well-funded start-ups ready to compete in the marketplace. Most had 100+ employees housed in impressive modern facilities. Some promising businesses had already entered the IPO process and others are planning to go public in the near future.
Everywhere we went, the level of interest in .WS domains surprised even me. Those we met with pointed out the success of other ccTLDs in the China market, noting ccTLDs are attractive because they are short. For Chinese users, they believe .WS is easy to remember and simple to type, given that “W” and “S” are so close together on a keyboard. Available premium name inventory was also a hot topic. We explained that all one-character, many two-character, and tens of thousands of three-character .WS domains are still available. But most important of all, we discovered what the letters “.WS” could potentially mean to Chinese companies and consumers:
网商 ～ WǎngShāng, meaning “website”
微商 ～ WēiShāng, a shop on WeChat
卫生 ～ WèiShēng, meaning “health”
With the millions of ccTLD domains registered by Chinese buyers in the last year, the ccTLD market in general is thriving for registrars. Whenever we spoke with registrar executives, they unanimously were eager to expand the ccTLD aspect of their business.
Part of the ccTLD success with investors has to do with finite number of 2 character ccTLDs that can ever enter the marketplace versus the endless supply of nTLDs coming down the pipeline.
Short names matter, even to the right of the dot.”