The usage of “.US” domain extensions is sharply rising, with organizations switching to alternative top level domain extensions rather than “.com” to bolster their online brand with American audiences, according to Sedo.com, a leading online marketplace for the sale of domain names, based in Cambridge, Mass.
According to data from the “.US” registry, the number of new “.US” registrations increased by 21 percent in the third quarter of 2005 versus the second quarter of this year. Over the past year, “.US” registry DNS lookups have increased by 250 percent to approximately 10 billion per month.
Foreign Purchases Growing
Sedo said it is supporting a number of “.US” sales to foreign companies, including Viva Technology (Viva.us), a German-based publishing solutions provider; Dialogue Language School (language.us and languages.us), a Belgian-based dialogue language school; and EasyCar Ltd. (EasyCar.us), a Britain-based car rental company.
Other high-profile “.US” extensions registered by foreign companies include volvocars.us, hitachi.us, ikea.us and vuarnet.us.
This week, Sedo sold the the URL foods.us for US$20,000 to Natural Foods Inc. from domain-owner Christian Zouzas (www.got.us).
Christian Zouzas, one of the largest .US domain holders, has posted more than 200 “.US” domains for sale on Sedo.com, including — movies.us, America.us, property.us and bingo.us, among others.
Americans Still Like ‘.com’
“Outside the United States and most notably across Europe, most domain extensions are affiliated with the country in which the company operates. However, in the U.S., the standard is the .com extension,” said Matt Bentley, chief executive officer of Sedo.com. “Many organizations, especially those based overseas, are strengthening their identity in American markets with a .US domain. As the extension grows in popularity, the value of owning a .US domain increases dramatically.”
According to Zouzas, companies across all markets are now considering domains with “.US” extensions, especially those looking to enhance their marketing initiatives and grow their U.S. customer base. “More companies are contacting me and researching domains available on Sedo.com, as they recognize the opportunity to drive their U.S. presence with a new .US domain name,” said Zouzas.
The news about growth of the “.US” comes as reports surfaced from the U.N. Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia that the U.S. will retain control of internet domain names.
The agreement has aroused controversy, though this seems interesting, in light of the fact that European companies want to be identified with the U.S., especially on the Internet.
The European Union, Brazil, China, Iran and other countries have strongly argued that the UN or another international organization should administrate the domain name system. The U.S. and its supporters countered that such an arrangement could lead to politicization of otherwise technical decisions.
The domain name system is under the jurisdiction of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization that was established during the 1990s, at the emergence of the commercial Internet.