A few things startup founders should know about .AI domains

dot-ai

Artificial Intelligence has been in the news a lot lately and it’s no secret that investors from Silicon Valley to Silicon Beach are pouring money into AI startups. With the AI gold rush comes another gold rush in the domain world with .AI domain names.

I’ve talked to a number of founders who are still trying to wrap their heads around this seemingly new domain name extension. I’m usually the first one to tell them that it’s not new, and it actually doesn’t stand for Artificial Intelligence either, but yes – it could be a great extension to brand around, there are just a few things you should know.

  1. .AI is a ccTLD  okay, there’s a good chance you have no idea what a ccTLD is right? You know what a gTLD is, these are things like .COM, .NET, .ORG, etc. the “g” in this case stands for generic. A ccTLD is a Country Code Top Level Domain which means it’s actually associated with a specific country. If you go to Italy you’ll probably see a lot of domains ending in .IT, go to Canada and you’ll see .CA, visit Australia and .COM.AU will be on billboards and store windows. .AI is actually the Country Code Top Level Domain for Anguilla.
  2.  

    Anguilla
    (Anguilla – home of .AI)

  3. .AI is not a new domain extension – the .AI domain extension was originally introduced in 1995 so it’s not new. I’ve heard some people mistakenly say that since AI is becoming so popular .AI was released, this isn’t the case, it has been around for a while just a bit under the radar. That being said, until 2009 you couldn’t actually register a .AI domain without being a business or person in Anguilla so this explains why it hasn’t been as mainstream as the other extensions that you could register since the 90’s.
  4. Registration prices can be different based on where you buy – unlike .COM where you usually see pretty consistent pricing, .AI domains can vary in price quite dramatically. At Europe Registry a .AI will set you back $127.28 and you’ll have to agree to a two-year registration so the actual cost is over $250. At 101 Domain (one of the biggest ccTLD registrars) they are only $79.99/year.
  5. You can buy .AI names from existing owners – if the .AI domain you want is taken don’t count it out completely. Domain name investor have been buying .AI at a rapid clip and with a quick email you can find-out how much you can buy an already registered one for. The price can range from under $1,000 to a few thousand dollars but there are very few .AI names that have sold in the five-figure range.
  6. Yes – email works – I’ve heard some people say that you can’t get email at a .AI domain but that’s just not true. Like most domains .AI supports MX records so you can send and receive email from your .AI domain name.

Photo Credit: SkylineGTR Flickr via Compfight cc

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