Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Editorial Staff
3 months ago

Anguilla to profit as AI domain names continue to change hands for hundreds of thousands of dollars

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by Mick the Ram

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is fast transforming many aspects of modern life. These systems which are trained on huge amounts of data allowing pattern recognition are dominating the business world.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has even predicted that AI will eventually mean that nobody will need to work and the abbreviation has even been given the title of “word of the year” by a leading dictionary.

A real demonstration of how AI has now become huge for businesses can be seen in the incredible clamour for domain names that contain AI, and particularly in their suffix. Some domain names are changing hands for six figure sums, such is the demand.

People are recognising its importance for branding, as well as the speculation opportunities that owning these titles can bring.

This is great news for the Caribbean island and British territory of Anguilla, as it means it controls one of the hottest URL suffixes on the entire internet.

Capabilities of AI off the scale

So-called “chatbots” like ChatGPT, that can have text conversations and DALL-E which can create images from simple text instructions, are examples of what is referred to as “generative” AI, but the power and capabilities of the technology stretches so much further.

In today’s market place, there is a necessity to constantly align a business with emerging trends through a strong online presence. Being able to denote a digital identity which is ready for that next step is crucial for future development.

The .ai suffix in huge demand

Hence why there has been a meteoric growth in the appetite for the .ai domain. In the year July 2022 to July 2023, the registering of .ai domains grew by a massive 160%, a startling gain that continues to increase by the month.

Seemingly ridiculous figures are being paid out for these addresses. For example, service.ai was sold for $127,500 earlier this year, whilst another: npc.ai went for almost double, at $250,000. By having such a suffix as the closing part of an online address, can place a business in a leading position for AI driven opportunities.

Process not always straightforward

There are actually more than a thousand domain registrars who are all accredited by the global organisation: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names. These will initially indicate whether a domain name of choice is available and if it unclaimed then it is a simply a case of paying a nominal fee of around $20 per year to register it.

However, if somebody else already owns it then it is possible to enter into domain brokerage through facilitators who can broker a deal to exchange the name.

Vision is the key

One such facilitator is US-based brokerage firm: Name Experts, whose Chief Executive Joe Udemme said sales of the .ai suffixes were constantly hitting five figure and often went into six figures.

He explained why he believed this was happening: “The way to look at it is that by using a short and brand-worthy word followed by the .ai suffix, it effectively becomes beach-front digital real estate,” before adding: “Once you have built that, nobody can build in front of you, only ever behind you.”

Grasping the opportunity

Some people are also using the .ai revolution to make some fast cash. Speculators are buying up these suffixes on speculation, knowing that companies are desperate for the best branding, so in some cases they are able to move them on for five or six times the purchase price.

Anguilla hits the jackpot

Anguilla has been famed for its tropical climate, white sandy beaches and fabulous coral reefs. The tiny UK territory would never have imagined when it was assigned .ai as its domain suffix back in the 1990’s that it could net them tens of millions of dollars.

Indeed the suffix was previously often overlooked, but with tech giants including Google now having their own .ai addresses to direct traffic to AI-specific pages, it is estimated that Anguilla could profit by as much as $30m in domain registration fees this year alone.

Confirmation of potential coming from the Pacific

They need only look towards the Pacific island of Tuvalu and the success they made from the .tv suffix, to see the vast financial implications that the AI situation could mean for revenue.

Tuvalu’s suffix is associated with online streaming and video content and by recognising the massive financial implications associated with that, they were able to capitalize through effective marketing strategies, to such an extent that it transformed its economy, providing a valuable source of income and contributing significantly to its GDP.

The power of the domain name in this digital age is enormous, so Anguilla is sitting on a virtual goldmine.

Word of the Year

Another indication of the influence AI is having on the world can be seen by the fact that the highly respected Collins Dictionary has actually given AI their title of “Word of the Year” – even though in reality it actually just an abbreviation. The makers of the publication – which is accepted as being more user-friendly and accessible than the Oxford English Dictionary – say that usage of the word has quadrupled in 2023.

Their choice of word of the year usually reflects the public compulsions of that time. Last year it was permacrisis, which is a term for “an extended period of instability or insecurity” and was chosen in reference to the constant upheavals in British politics during 2022.

Fears of wrongful use

There is of course the fear that AI could actually be used with malicious intention. Already many performers, writers and artists have expressed their concerns that it will allow others to exploit and imitate their work for financial gain, with no recompense for themselves.

Controversial figure makes bold prediction

Politically and from a world-security viewpoint, US President Joe Biden has vowed to “harness the power of AI, while keeping all Americans safe”, whilst the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that he wants his country to be a leader in AI safety.

His long-term thought processes may however have been slightly altered when he met with billionaire Elon Musk at a summit last month, to discuss AI. The controversial businessman has already used the technology in his driverless Tesla cars and he predicted that in the not too distant future, AI will make paid work redundant.

Whether that would be something Mr Sunak could put into a future Conservative manifesto is debatable!

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