If you thought U.S. or China has the highest number of registrations, you are far away. It was a surprise for us, too, to find out that the little New Zealand territory, Tokelau, governs the world with 31 million .tk domain names.
With a population of just a few more than 1,400 residents over a distance of four square miles, this island seems to be stronger than the others.
You will see in the world map made by UK domain registry, Nominet, the difference between the island and the rest of the world in terms of registrations.
The most populous nation on the world, China, ranks the second with 16.8 million registered .cn domain names, followed by Germany with 16 million .de domain names, UK with 10.6 million .uk and co.uk domain names and Netherlands with 5.6 million .nl domain names and the list can continue. Compared with this wide number of domain registrations, the country with smallest number of registrations is Guinea Bissau, with just 2 .gw domain names. Regarding US, the small number of registrations (1,687,108 registrations) is due to the significant anonymity of the .us TLDs.
Despite its popularity, the .com TLD (123 million registrations) isn’t linked to a distinctive nation. If initial, when it was introduced in 1985, it intended to be only for commercial organisations and schools, since 2002 it is for general use according to the registry Neustar.
In 2000 the dutch entrepreneur, Joost Zuurbier, founded Freedom registry, now called Freenom, for .tk domain names. He searched for a TLD open to the idea of free registration and thus he found Tokelau. The company assigns free domains from its HQ in the Netherlands and in its offices in London and Palo Alto, excepting the little island they came from.
To register a .tk address doesn’t cost anything in contradistinction to the majority of domains. Although .tk domain names are free, there are plenty registered and then unused. All registered domain names that aren’t used for a specific period of time are changed with ad pages and paid .tk domain names allowing people to take legitimate ownership.
Adverts put on outdated .tk registrations, but with discount for the Tokelau people, are the way that FreeDom makes money. This discount represented ⅙ of the $1.2 million annual GDP in 2012.
Lately, Tokelau isn’t the only nation open for free registrations, it’s now followed by Mali (.ml), Central African Republic (.cf), Gabon (.ga) and Equatorial Guinea (.gq).
Nominet CEO, Russell Haworth, has expressed its opinion saying that:
“Our visualisation of global internet use paints an interesting picture of the domain world.”