.ME in la Repubblica
A good article with historical facts was just published in la Repubblica, one of the Italian influential papers. Below goes our translation into English (with some of Google help of course):
Little Montenegro gets a bit more wealthy? With .me domains of course.
The symbol identifying the Balkan country depopulated on the web. By Balbi Alessio
ROME - It's been three and a half years from the day when Montenegro declared independence from Serbia, and having analysed the benefits of that choice, no one would probably think about the conquest of its own national space on the Internet. Yet one of the most fruitful things of that separation is just the top level Internet domain that the small Balkan country did obtain when becoming independent.
Be it a happy coincidence, in fact, the abbreviation of Montenegro on the Internet is ".me", two letters representing the country on the web. Since ICANN, the authority that manages the first level domains, has assigned the extension .me to Montenegro, it is playing a real rush to grab addresses with irresistible value, like "youand.me" or "notify.me".
As of today, there are over 320 registered .me addressed. .ME is one thing that turns the little Montenegro into the owner of the domain with the strongest growth in the entire Internet history. At the moment, entrepreneurs who have noticed and monopolised the best combinations claim three to four digit prices. And to thing is that the most desirable addresses, like "love.me" or "write.me", have been previously excluded from the initial sales with the idea of auctioning at a later stage.
Miracles of the so-called "domain hacking" relies on exploiting the domain extensions for short appealing and easy-to-remember phrases. It is a practice that has made the fortune for smaller states, often tiny and unknown. Consider the case of Tuvalu, an island in Polynesia, with its proprietary extension .tv: thanks to an agreement with the giant VeriSign, the government of that country receives one million dollars each quarter for the exploitation of its domain, so beloved by major television networks.
For its achievement, Montenegro must also thank Mr. Ilan Shavit, Israeli lawyer that on 23rd of May 2006, just forty-eight hours after the independence referendum, presented the request to ICANN to assign .me to the new state. In his letter, he stated, inter alia: "This is a beautiful gift to that country." Those were so prophetic words indeed.
© Riproduzione riservata, la Repubblica, 12th of January 2010
Anther history on the rising of .me can be found in our past article: Why .ME will always be international.