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Montenegro's .me domain name gain

A group of youngsters wave Montenegro's national flags in front of the parliament building in Podgorica, 03 June 2006
Montenegro's independence from Serbia lead to the creation of a .me domain.

When it comes to top level domain names, some countries are luckier than others.

Take the Pacific Ocean island of Tuvalu, for instance, which offers the attractive .tv for the broadcast media.

Companies like Microsoft and Samsung rushed to register their .me name.
Pedrag Lesic

Or Tonga, whose .to domain has spawned sites such as go.to and how.to.

Perhaps most fortunate of all in the name game is Montenegro.

After separating from Serbia in 2006, the country gained .me - the perfect domain for the social media generation.

"From the beginning it was clear that .me would have its share in the market," said Predrag Lesic, executive director of the .me registry in Montenegro.

Fastest selling

That share is now huge.

Since going live in 2008, more than 320,000 names have been registered, making it the fastest selling debut top level domain ever.

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"It's short, personal and popular - with names like youand.me and whatabout.me.

"It's being used more than ever as a call-to-action domain, for example notify.me."

The domain's popularity is partly down to its versatility across different languages, as the word "me" has a similar meaning in a number of languages.

Even before the domain's launch, Montenegro's registrars were inundated with requests for names.

"There have been three development phases," said Mr Lesic. "Sunrise, landrush and go-live.

"In the sunrise period we were receiving applications for the trademark names only.

"Companies like Microsoft and Samsung rushed to register their .me name."

The landrush phase allowed people to register an interest in a domain, while the go-live phase - which started on 17 July 2008 - opened up the registry to customers worldwide.

"On the first day of the go-live period, we had 50,000 registrations."

Lucrative proposal

One buyer of the .me domain was Matt Mansell, who purchased willshemarry.me.

Turns out she did marry him - and the site was used as a way of informing guests how to get to the wedding, even allowing them to vote for songs to be played at the disco.

But, aside from his new wife, the domain name may prove to be Mr Mansell's greatest gain from his wedding.

"I've had an awful lot of people who want to buy the idea, I've had people who want to buy the domain.

"I think as domains go, it will be one that I never let go unless the offer's right.

"A lot of the .me names are actually selling post-purchase at auction for figures like $10,000-$15,000."

People interested in the domain are now welcome to make an offer - premium domain site domainmonster.com has the address up at a cool £1,750.

Not important

Despite being a very lucrative market, technology commentator Bill Thompson is not convinced with the value attached to a memorable domain name.

"I'm a domain name cynic.

"More and more people just go to their favourite search engine, type in what they're looking for and don't actually look for where it's going."

"So, although people might want a good domain to put on their wedding invitations or their business cards, I just don't think they're as important as they were.

"And I don't think they should be."



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