Dot-tv fire sale sparks gold rush

A mini domain name land-rush has kicked off, following the decision by VeriSign to slash prices on tens of thousands of 'premium' dot-tv names.

Over the last 12 hours, domainers have reported being able to register domains previously tagged at $10,000 for as little as $22. Thousands of one-word dictionary dot-tv names have been snapped up.

Some are speculating that glitches at domain registrars may have been responsible. But Chris Sheridan, vice president of platform at Demand Media, owner of number-two registrar eNom, said: “They might just be seeing that some aren't classified as premium any more.”

Unlike dot-com, dot-tv prices are not regulated by ICANN, so VeriSign has been able to charge different prices depending on how valuable the name is perceived to be. The company has been able to sell short domains and dictionary words for hundreds or thousands of dollars in the primary market.

These premium names also had premium annual renewal prices, which essentially excluded many domains from the speculation market. As of today, the first-year prices have been cut, and registrations will renew at a standardised rate.

Last time we checked, there were about 26,000 domains on the premium list still available. You could pick up ropey dictionary words such as sociological.tv for $90, or more appealing strings such as computer.tv for $3,800. Even blatant trademarks, such as mac.tv and ibm.tv were still available.

Sheridan said that the lower renewal price does not apply to previously registered dot-tv names. He added that he does not believe VeriSign will raise prices in future.

“Ultimately our understanding is that VeriSign has no plans to raise pricing, so that is how we've structured our agreements,” he said. eNom's customers get their renewal prices locked in, he said.