TV Domain Extension

We’ve all seen the popularity of .tv domains over the last few years, but there’s an interesting story behind these domain names.

Just as we have for the UK and for Australia, .tv is also a country extension.

Can you name the country that registered the domain and had this genius marketing idea?

I bet you’re thinking of somewhere like:

  • Turkey
  • Tunisa
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Or maybe even Taiwan

But you’d be wrong! I could give you an Atlas and I bet you still wouldn’t guess it!

What if I told you the country technically only owns 20% of the company that has the domain name rights? And that it was registered in 1999, just one year after Google launched? Some might even say this was a country that’s pretty technologically advanced.

Have you guessed it yet?

Here’s a final clue. The country used its first royalties’ payment to join the United Nations.

Give up? You’re not alone. I wouldn’t have known either! The correct answer is actually Tuvalu.

Now there’s a great piece of general knowledge to have in your back pocket. It’s the sort of obscure question that’ll come up in your next Pub Quiz, like it did for me when I was at the BrightonSEO Conference last September!


Tuvalu is an independent island nation in the South Pacific and is part of the British Commonwealth. It’s made up of 9 islands and is so small, it’s barely noticeable on most atlases. But that’s enough about the country.

The company that owns the .tv rights is dotTV, a Verisign company (which owns the other 80%). dotTV negotiated a deal with Idealab to lease the rights for $50million in royalties over a 12 year period and the company used its first million to pay its $100,000 fee to join the UN. More importantly, the country only has 9,876 residents, which equates to about £5,000 per person over the term of the deal.

Now I’m not much of an economist, but $50m for such a small island is amazing. I’d hazard a guess it’s most of the country’s GDP.

And there you go. Now you have some useless information that might come up in that SEO pub quiz!

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