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“.ai” sites, hijacked by the world of AI, a windfall for the island of Anguilla



The “.ai” sites, which are increasingly popular with the artificial intelligence sector, bring big money to… the island of Anguilla, for which it is the official domain name on the Internet, indicated a managers of this extension.

Indeed, the two letters “.ai” do not refer to the initials “artificial intelligence” in English, but to this British territory in the Caribbean, which like any country or territory has a national extension that it manages as it sees fit. .

But the booming AI sector has taken on this name, which evokes its sector, and more and more companies are buying “.ai” sites.

Currently, their number has reached 175,659, after doubling in 3 years.

For Anguilla, which charges $60 a year and has raised its prices, monthly revenue has doubled in the past six months, said Vince Cate, technical manager of the island’s domain name.

Anguilla does not ask buyers for any proof of connection with its territory.

THE. ai represents the third source of income for the government of the island. “At the current rate of growth, I think it will represent its second source at the end of 2023 and eventually its first,” said Mr. Cate, without specifying the amount.

Mathematically, at 60 dollars per year, this means an income of the order of 10 million dollars per year.

“There are two kinds of extensions, those in two letters which correspond to a country or a territory and the generic names which represent a sector”, explains Pierre Bonis, CEO of Afnic, which manages the .fr domain.

“It’s a misuse of the use of a national domain name,” he said, citing other similar cases in recent years. Thus the “.tv” used by global television channels is actually the domain name of the Tuvalu Islands, a Polynesian archipelago. The “.io” was adopted by developers who see the initials input/output, a common abbreviation in computing, when it comes to the Indian Ocean domain, belonging to a British island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

“It’s a practice that exists for small countries. But the price is high – in comparison, Afnic charges 4.56 euros – and is not intended to become massive”, according to Mr. Bonis.

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