Stake a claim to your Asian domain

Stake a claim to your Asian domain

The lukewarm response to the latest domain registration is misguided and a competitive edge will be needed

Almost 120 years after the original land run across parts of North America, and a new territory grab is taking place.

At high noon, on 22 April 1889, an estimated 50,000 people raced across Oklahoma to claim a piece of land. The location for the modern-day land run is very different ­ – cyberspace, as opposed to terra firma. As of 20 February, companies and the general public could begin registering for available .asia domain names in a so-called land rush phase.

According to DotAsia, the firm overseeing domain registration, the land rush represents: “A golden opportunity for individuals looking to invest in the most prestigious and potentially profitable cyber real estate in Asia.”

That sentiment, as well as sounding remarkably like the wording in a timeshare advert, expresses the hype surrounding the latest release of domain name suffixes.

There have been a lot of previous releases, with businesses and cybersquatters ­ – people buying popular names in the hope of making a quick profit ­ – forcing up interest and prices.

But the times are possibly changing. The BBC reports that just 30,780 applications have been filed for .asia domain names so far, compared with 330,000 at the same point in the launch of the .eu domain name.

Instead of lining up for a slice of cyber real estate, are circumspect internet users choosing to ignore the latest virtual land grab? No one would be surprised if IT leaders, bombarded and bamboozled by a series of suffix releases, are struggling to see the point of yet another domain registration.

However, a proactive reaction really is in your firm’s interests. First, DotAsia’s registration rules mean squabbles over names will lead to domains being auctioned off to the highest bidder. has already been sold for $20,501 (£10,400) and a quick look at the upcoming auction list reveals a highly competitive tendering process (

Second, Asia really is the next web frontier. Researcher Global Reach estimates 64 per cent of the world’s internet population are non-English speakers, with Asian languages accounting for 33 per cent of users.

So, while a dose of scepticism to yet another cyber land run is healthy, you should not let your cynicism cost you a competitive advantage.