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.ad domains to go global soon

Andorra’s ccTLD is to become the latest potential domain hack for the Anglophone world, when the local registry massively liberalizes its registration policies later this year.

.ad domains are due to become available to any registrant globally starting in October, via an as-yet-unpublished list of approved registrars. General availability wholesale prices appear to be €15 ($16) a year.

Currently, the domains are only available to Andorrans manually going through the government trademark office, but it seems the registry, Andorra Telecom, has moved to a standardized EPP back-end with all the usual business logic that entails.

Before GA, starting May 22, there will be a gradual ramp-up period that seems to combine elements of typical sunrise and landrush periods. Foreign trademark owners will be able to apply during this period.

Interestingly, it seems that you may also be able to register a .ad that matches your domain in another TLD, without a matching trademark, during this period.

.ad is of course an abbreviation of “advertisement” in English, which may make it attractive to registrants outside Andorra.

The attractiveness is perhaps enhanced by the fact the the plural, .ads, is one of many gTLDs that Google owns but has so far refused to launch.

Andorra is a tiny nation, with a population about the same as Grimsby, nestled in the mountains between France and Spain. The national language is Catalan, as is the new registry web site.