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.ai up to 425,000 domains

Kevin Murphy, April 15, 2024, Domain Registries

The .ai registry has provided its latest, sporadic update to its registration numbers, showing that Anguilla’s ccTLD continues to be wildly popular compared to the country’s size.

It’s grown from 353,928 domains on December 20 to 425,060 domains on April 12, according to the registry’s web site.

That’s an increase of 71,132 since the last update, or about 620 a day. The zone is on track to have doubled in size over 12 months by the middle of the year.

.ai has a relatively high price point — about $70 a year but with a two-year minimum initial registration — suggesting that registrants either intend to use their domains or are fairly confident they can turn a profit by selling them to somebody who will.

.ai registry fights deadbeats with tweaked auction rules

Kevin Murphy, March 21, 2024, Domain Registries

With too many auction winners failing to hand over the loot, the .ai registry has changed its auction terms to make being a deadbeat more expensive.

The registry has increased its deposit requirement from 2% to 5% for bidders considered “high risk”, which basically means new customers, or $100, whichever is higher. The deposit is forfeit if the buyer fails to pay.

The move comes because too many winners are currently failing to pay. On Twitter, registry manager Vince Cate wrote yesterday:

On we have had too many cases of people not paying for domains they bid for so we are increasing the deposit requirement to 5% and the non-payment fee to 5% effective immediately.

The registry conducts monthly auctions of expired inventory on its own platform using software and is mirrored at Dynadot. The highest-interest names regularly attract five-figure bids, due to the increasing popularity of artificial intelligence.

Sometimes, the same names show up in consecutive auctions because the previous winner didn’t pay up. In January, for example, and, which had both attracted bids over $20,000, returned to auction.

.ai registry advises buyers not to use GoDaddy

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2024, Domain Registries

The manager of the increasingly popular .ai ccTLD has seemingly escalated his beef with GoDaddy, now advising registrants to not transfer their .ai domains to the market-leading registrar due to technical and operational issues.

The list of approved registrars on the .ai registry web site has contained a warning about problems transferring domains into GoDaddy for many months, but now it explicitly advises against such transfers. The site reads:

We have had several problems with transfers into GoDaddy. First, you have to use auth codes of 32 characters or less. Second they can take weeks and many email and phone calls to actually do the transfer. Anyplace else the transfer is nearly instant once the receiving party does the transfer with the auth code and the domain is unlocked. With GoDaddy the auth code is just the start of a long process. For years GoDaddy could not transer .ai domains at all. We do not advise transfering to go GoDaddy and if you do don’t ask us for help, the problem is all GoDaddy.

GoDaddy has also been removed from .ai’s list of supported registrars, but registry manager Vince Cate tells me he did this at the request of GoDaddy, which he said is a reseller of Team Internet’s 1API. He declined to comment further.

I asked GoDaddy for comment a few weeks ago but did not receive one.

An earlier version of Cate’s warning, from about a year ago as .ai domains started to fly off the shelf, read:

The company Godaddy will say “domains with this extension are not transferable” when someone tries to transfer a “.ai” domain to them when a more correct error message would be “Godaddy does not know how to transfer .ai domains even though it is done using the industry standard EPP transfer command”.

It was later updated to read:

The company Godaddy will say “domains with this extension are not transferable” when someone tries to transfer a “.ai” domain to them when a more correct error message would be “Godaddy does not know how to transfer .ai domains even though it is done using the industry standard EPP transfer command”. They will also say, “Technically .ai domains are not transferable between most registrars, but we have a dedicated team that transfers them manually.” This is so wrong. All other registrars have no trouble doing them automatically. The only technical failure is at Godaddy. Because of they way Godaddy is doing this, I get many people asking me, “Vince, why don’t you let people transfer .ai domains?”, as if I was doing something wrong and not Godaddy. I do let people transfer .ai domains. All of the above registrars can do it automatically without any trouble. Really.

While the .ai domain is managed by the Government of Anguilla, Cate seems to have substantial autonomy over the registry. Much of its bare-bones web site is written in the first person.

Sold for over $20k, and back in .ai’s expired names auction

Kevin Murphy, January 26, 2024, Domain Sales

The Government of Anguilla has put its latest batch of expired .ai domains up for auction, including a handful of single-word names and a great many three-character strings. There are 1,878 domains on the list.

At least two of the domains being auctioned off were reported sold earlier this month at the last .ai expired names auction —, which fetched a winning bid of $24,700, and, which reached $21,311.

They were the third and fourth most-expensive domains in the earlier auction. The domains’ Whois show the registry is still the current registrant, so the winning bidder(s) presumably didn’t pay up.

Other English dictionary-word domains that caught my eye include,,,,,,, and

The list is notable for the number of times the word “meta” appears — well over 100 times. This is presumably due to these three facts: 1) .ai has a two-year minimum registration term, 2) it takes 90 days for expired names to make it to auction, and 3) Facebook rebranded itself as Meta in October 2021.

For any masochists among you, some obvious cybersquats are also listed for sale, including, and Remember, .ai uses the UDRP too.

The auction ends February 5.

.ai helps UDRP cases rise in 2023, WIPO says

Kevin Murphy, January 26, 2024, Domain Policy

The number of cybersquatting cases filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization increased 7% in 2023, WIPO said this week.

The total UDRP filings, 6,192, includes national ccTLD variations that WIPO handles but not UDRP filings with other providers.

WIPO said that 82% of cases resulted in the domain being transferred to the complainant, with the complaint being denied in just 3% of cases.

The organization does not publish data on Reverse Domain Name Hijacking findings, but, which tracks these things, shows 31 RDNH finding at WIPO in 2023.

.com accounted for 80% of complaints. WIPO said that the most complained-about ccTLDs were .co (Colombia), .cn (China), .mx (Mexico), .au (Australia) and .ai (Anguilla).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its rapid growth in registrations, Anguilla’s .ai saw a sharp uptick in UDRP filings last year, up from just four in 2022 to 43 in 2023, according to the WIPO web site.

Anguilla fears the .ai junk drop

Kevin Murphy, January 9, 2024, Domain Registries

A junk drop is an anxiety-inducing prospect for any domain registry, but what if the registry is a national government and domain revenues are suddenly a huge portion of the money it has to spend on public services?

That’s the situation the Caribbean island of Anguilla finds itself in today, having benefited from a huge windfall last year with the sale of .ai domains but not a guarantee that its hundreds of thousands of new registrants will stick around.

Speaking to the local legislature in mid-December, Premier Ellis Webster said that .ai sales brought in a projected 77.18 million East Caribbean Dollars ($28.5 million) in 2023, compared to its start-of-year budget estimate of EC$24 million ($8.9 million).

That’s a huge chunk — about 20% — of the government’s overall 2023 revenue of EC$399.13 million ($148 million).

Just two years earlier, before the popularization of AI with the rise of tools such as ChatGPT, domains were bringing in just shy of EC$20 million ($7.4 million) against an overall government revenue of EC$220 million ($81.4 million).

But it seems Webster has been well-advised on the speculative nature of the domain name industry. He told lawmakers .ai’s performance was “a moment of pride and potential” but added that it “also calls for a moment of introspection and caution”.

The main beneficiary of the new domain money will be the development of Anguilla’s small single airport and growing the island’s important tourism sector, Webster indicated, something governments have been promising for years. Roads and schools will also see investment.

Anguilla is a British overseas territory with an estimated population of about 16,000.

According to a transcript of his remarks (pdf), Webster said:

We must acknowledge that these revenue streams, while robust, are not under the direct control of our government. The digital landscape is ever-changing, and what seems like a perennial source today can rapidly evolve tomorrow…

Our approach must be balanced — leveraging this opportunity to enhance our infrastructure and services while maintaining a diversified and sustainable revenue base. This will ensure that we do not find ourselves in a precarious position should the dynamics of the digital domain market shift

While .ai may be somewhat resistant to over-speculation due to its high prices (up to 10x .com, depending where you buy), those high prices may also inspire speculators to let their names drop if the .ai aftermarket fails to live up to expectations.

It seems certain that AI is going to become an all-pervasive force in human civilization in the coming years, but there’s always the risk that the same might not be true of .ai.

Almost 50,000 .ai domains sold in a quarter

Kevin Murphy, January 8, 2024, Domain Registries

The Government of Anguilla continued to benefit from the rising popularity of artificial intelligence in the fourth quarter of 2023, with almost 50,000 more .ai domains being registered.

As of December 20, there were 353,928 .ai domains, compared to 306,861 on September 26, an increase of 47,067, according to the registry’s web site. That’s an increase of 105,319 compared to the number reported June 14.

Over 100,000 names in half a year is pretty impressive for a tiny island territory — comparable to growth in ccTLDs for far more populous nations such as Germany (.de) and Brazil (.br) — and it comes despite the relatively hefty price tag .ai commands.

At the major registrars today, you’re likely to pay $60 to $80 a year for an initial registration, with a two-year minimum. Renewals are about ten bucks more.

There’s certainly a certain degree of speculation going on here, but it’s far lower than you typically see in heavily discounted gTLDs.

The increased popularity seems to have come with increased abuse risk. The registry’s operator has hastily updated the terms of service a few times over the last year, making more types of conduct unacceptable.

Over 50,000 .ai domains sold in three months

Kevin Murphy, December 19, 2023, Domain Registries

The .ai ccTLD registry sold over 50,000 domain names in just over a quarter, according to the registry.

Its recently updated web site says its total domains under management as of September 23 was 306,861, compared to 248,609 on June 14.

That represents a growth acceleration from its last update, which saw it register over 100,000 domains in a year.

The domain is of course popular due to the rise of artificial intelligence technologies and the popularity of chatbots such as ChatGPT.

The registry says its renewal rate in over 90% — very high for a TLD — but it expects that to decline due to its rapid growth.

The registry is managed by the Government of Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean.

.ai sells 100,000 domains in a year

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2023, Domain Registries

The registry managing the .ai ccTLD grew its business by over 100,000 domains in the last 12 months, according to its web site.

The company that manages the domain for the Government of Anguilla,, typically does not disclose its reg numbers — its plain text web site is extremely bare bones and it lets its registrars do the marketing — but that changed when it recently updated its FAQ with the lines:

What is the total number of domains?
As of July 20, 2022 the total was 143,737 domains.
As of June 14, 2023 the total is 248,609 domains.

According to a Bloomberg interview this week, the number is now 287,432. It seems the rise of ChatGPT, which launched at the end of last year, and large language model AIs has spurred interest in the domain.

Bloomberg reckons .ai may account for 10% of Anguila’s GDP. The Caribbean British territory has a population of just 16,000 and makes most of its money from tourism and offshore banking.

ChatGPT maker files UDRP on .com match

Kevin Murphy, April 3, 2023, Domain Policy

The registrant of must have thought he’d hit the motherlode when he picked up the domain last December, almost a month after it launched and days after the wildly popular AI chatbot had already received rave reviews from the global press.

What he got instead was a UDRP complaint with WIPO, which ChatGPT maker OpenAI filed last week.

While you’d expect it to be an open-and-shut case, it appears OpenAI was almost as slow with its trademark applications as it was with its domain registration strategy.

The company uses a subdomain of for the chat service. It launched November 30 last year and received high praise in outlets including the New York Times over the following week.

The .com registrant picked up the previously unregistered name on December 13, but it was not until December 27 that OpenAI applied for a US trademark on the brand.

It wasn’t even the first to apply for a trademark. A company called BrandCentral applied for the mark on December 15, in various “merch” categories unrelated to AI or software, but has since withdrawn the application.

Fortunately for OpenAI, WIPO allows complainants to assert common law trademark rights if the brand is sufficiently famous, and ChatGPT had well over a million users by the time the domain in question was registered.