The history of the Dot TV extension

Labeled as .tv in ccTLD Discussion, started by equity78, Feb 4, 2011


  1. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    A history lesson

    .tv the country code for the tiny island nation of TUVALU the world's smallest country. Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located midway between Hawaii and Australia. Back in the mid 80's when countries were being allotted two letter codes for their identity is when Tuvalu struck gold. They were assigned .tv as their cctld. In the 80's no one had any idea that this was to be such a windfall for the tiny island nation.

    In 1998, Jason Chapnik a Canadian entrepreneur who was president of approached the Tuvalu government with an idea on how to profit from their popular country code. However Chapnik was not the only one interested in .tv. Anton Van Couvering who was the former President of Net Names had been consulting Tuvalu on how to profit from their country code. Van Couvering stepped down as a consultant in order to become a bidder for .tv through his company Net Names.

    After months of negotiation in the fall of 98 Tuvalu decided to go with Chapnik. Chapnik started out with a pricing structure that would price .tv much more than traditional prices for .com/net/org but more reasonable than the current premium pricing under Verisign. They started out taking $1000 deposits for the first year with renewals at $500 a year. There was also an auction structure set up to settle domain disputes or if there was two or more entities that shared a certain name.

    Chapnik made many promises and gave rather high estimates to the Tuvalu government on sales of .tv domains. When Chapnik was unable to raise the $50 million upfront payment to the Tuvalu nation he brought in a white knight to save the deal.

    *See the notes at the end of this post for all the contract details.

    Enter Idealab, the California incubator came in and Tuvalu agreed to license its cctld for $1million per quarter adjustable for inflation, with a $50 million cap over 10 years. Additionally the Tuvalu nation got a 20 % interest in the company.

    In August of 2000 Idealab announced the three most expensive sales in .tv history., and were sold for $100,000 for the first year and an additional percent for each year following. is the registrant of and and have maintained their registration to the present day. is registered to a Pennsylvania man that also has kept the registration up to date.

    In another marketing deal Dot Tv gave the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences the domain for free in exchange for them to promote the site during their telecast of the EMMYS in Sept of 2000.

    During this time some individuals started to make a big leap into the .tv extension. The two largest being Thunayan K Al-Ghanim a Kuwaiti businessman who has one of the largest domain portfolios on the planet. Al-Ghanim through his Future Media Architects owns suchs gems as,,several 1 letter .tv domains such as,, and and many more. Another major player Igal Lichtman also know to many as Mrs Jello/ Productions, owns such gems as,,,, and many more. One benefit these early adopters received was cheap premium renewal fees. Al-Ghanim has $50 renewals and Lichtman has $25 renewals. It was not uncommon to be able to negotiate renewal fees back in the early days especially if you were a big player in the .tv extension.

    On January 7,2002 IdeaLab sold its Dot Tv International unit for $45 million to Verisign. The deal was an all cash deal and Verisign at the time stated the transaction would add less than $1million in sales for the 4th quarter of 2001. Verisign also said it would add $7 to $10 million in deferred net revenue.

    Verisign took over and started doing business at where premium registrations could only take place through Verisign with a minimum two year contract. Non premium registrations were $50 at but other registrars such as Go Daddy,, Moniker and a whole host of others offered 1 year registrations for as little as $29.99 to as high as $59.99.

    In the world of domain forums .tv was pretty much shunned, either considered to be too expensive or just commented on as .tv sucks. There was little to no information on the extension until November of 2005, started what was to be the first ever extension specific subforum. The forum located at picked up steam quickly and educated a whole new domainer on the .tv extension.

    In September of 2006 Verisign offered a once in a lifetime chance for the small domain investor interested in premium domains. Since Verisign took over the pricing had changed from Idealab now a cost anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 a year. A a very popular genre of domain, cost $5oo and then rose to $750 a year. There was now to be a sale of all sales in the .tv extension. Verisign offered 70 % off the initial registration period and 50 % off renewal fees. An could be regged for $300 for as many years as someone wanted to pay upfront and then $500 a year after in renewal.

    In December 2006 Verisign announced it had partnered with Demand Media for a new marketing program for the .tv extension. Demand Media led by Richard Rosenblatt who successfully turned around and sold MY SPACE to News Corp is very bullish on the .tv extension. Demand Media rolled out a set of social tools to allow anyone to set up their own "TV"channel.

    Tom Gardner of Motley Fool fame gave his backing of the extension at a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. domainer convention where he said he thought the extension would be an extension to watch in 2007.

    The extension responded in 2007 posting more sales than the previous 3 years combined. Such names as,, and have all sold for over $20,000. It is also known that the domain sold with a non disclosure we did verify that it was at least xxx,xxx Demand Media being the buyer.

    Highest reported sales in the secondary market are for $65,000 and for $35,000 both purchased by Thunayan K AL-Ghanim from the same seller. turned out to be a bust. Demand Media closed the channel me platform in July of 2009 suggesting users move to

    .TV really staggered along over the next year then came March 17,2010. Enom sends out an email that only some received. Top .tv investors started regging names at the deal price. The early buzz is that legendary domainer Frank Schilling is in. But the offer on March 17 is nothing compared to what happens next.

    On top of this new pricing plan, premium renewal was gone. March 18,2010 some start regging names and noticed there was no

    premium. Names like and and along with one letter and were all just a regular fee. Enom allows all these regs to stand. Now they take the premium system down and send another email stating that March 19,2010 everything will be back up and the frenzy began. Although this time some names were priced non premium. Some slipped through and others did not. Apparently Frank Schilling was able to give his .tv back as he did not want them at the price offered March 17,2010. A few more big domainers come into .tv. Michael Berkens of who owned one .tv prior (, which he pays a $3000 premium renewal) jumped in and regged about 20 names. Telepathy Inc. came in and regged a few including and The regging frenzy lasted for about a week.

    Another result of this change was that more than just ENOM could offer premium .tv. Registrars like and Dynadot got in the game. Even though there is no premium renewal, a premium cannot be transferred.

    With the new pricing Sedo held an auction for some of the top premium .tv. The auction started April 1,2010. Top 5 sales were: $100,999 $41,000 $32,000 $31,000 $29,500

    A big buyer at the auction was a company called Portalis. They were high bidder on many names in the auction including:

    $100,999 Business.TV
    $41,000 Learn.TV
    $32,000 Christmas.TV
    $31,000 Home.TV
    $29,500 Guide.TV
    $25,500 Job.TV
    $20,500 Jobs.TV

    Right away people made money from the change in pricing. The Chinese investor who got beyond lucky and regged and for reg fee, sold to Michael Berkens for $18,000. Berkens posted recently that he turned down $125,000 for the name.

    At the end of 2010 the owner of dropped This name was picked up on the drop for $54,000. In a poll on Namepros 74 % of the people thought this was a good buy at $54,000.

    Top .tv domainers in the world include but not limited to:

    James Black

    James Barclay


    Igal Lichtman

    George Pickering

    Ben Van Dyk

    Joel Williams

    John Van den Berg

    Richard Kligman

    Jean Francis Arrou Vignod

    Michael Berkens

    Notable .tv sites include: Major league baseball uses the site for the streaming of live baseball games. a large cable tv station owned by Time Warner. European Mtv a Viacom property. Home and Garden Network. An exercise show on Time Warner Cable and Comcast Cable. World Fishing Network

    There have been some notable drops in using the .tv extension. Most notably the NFL which dropped and all 32 team names. The team names have been picked up and sold in the aftermarket at mostly reseller prices. was regged by the owner of and later dropped. It is interesting to find out why they dropped their .tv domains ? Even more interesting is will the NFL go after those who registered their licensed trademarks ?

    * Contract info

    In 1999, the Government of Tuvalu signed a contract

    with USA based DotTV Corporation International to market and manage

    its ccTLD ‘.tv’ indefinitely. In return for the exclusive rights to sell

    second-level domain addresses, the Government would receive US$1

    million per quarter for 12.5 years and 20% equity in the company.

    To 30 September 2000, the Government duly received five quarterly

    payments of US$1 million, plus a one-off lump sum payment of

    US$12.5 million after the principal investor, Idealabs Inc. Pasadena,

    California, exercised a call option under the agreement. In late 2000,

    the Government arranged with DotTV Corporation to forego quarterly

    payments for the December quarter of 2000 and the first two

    quarters of 2001, to acquire US$3 million of preferred stock in the

    corporation. In mid-2001, the DotTV Corporation ran into financial

    difficulties and in December 2001 the company was purchased by

    VeriSign, Inc., the domain administrator for ".com." Tuvalu’s share

    of the sale amounted to about US$10 million, which was received as

    a lump sum. The new contract with Verisign provides Tuvalu with

    US$2.2 million per annum plus 5% of all revenue exceeding US$20

    million sales per year. VeriSign holds the rights to market ‘.tv’ for 15

    years. The contract expires Dec 31,2016.

    Source: GOT.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. claudedauman

    claudedauman VIP Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Really great post.

    I tried to add reps, but apparently, I have given you so many reps already, that namepros would not allow me to add another.
  3. montechristos

    montechristos Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    thats a wiki post!

    great work :)

    rep added
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  4. Keith

    Keith Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Solid info. Really allows members to get a good grasp of this extention...where it's been and where it could potentially go!!!
  5. Vito

    Vito Domain Names Matter VIP Trusted Contest Holder ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Through the years as you have given out many bits of this info here and there, I have always wondered when you would write the full history out, and finally that day is here.

    Thanks Ray.

    Lets see how many people steal this info for their own blogs now...:)

    I cant rep you either. too fond blah, blah, blah...
  6. theo

    theo Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Very interesting information! Thank you!
  7. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Interesting read, thank you.
  8. tj1897

    tj1897 Established Member

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    Thank you for providing a much needed historical backdrop - looking forward may the best be yet to come!
  9. jwdomain

    jwdomain Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Great job - thx!

    Worth noting:
    * Richard Rosenblatt, and then Bob Parsons, each in turn hitched their wagons directly to the dot tv extension for a time, hoping to cash in on reg fees. Rosenblatt's "" now redirects to (as do all former / domains that chose not to or neglected to migrate to now redirects to Notice how both these great domain entrepreneurs jumped on the dot tv bandwagon a little too soon. I bet Bob Parsons wishes he had stuck with a little longer. His move from 'dot tv' to 'dot me' for GoDaddy's ccTLD promotional focus looks bass ackwards in hindsight =P

    * Carson Daly was the DemandMedia spokesperson during the latter days of the time he had a TV show, though, unfortunately, he never promoted dot tv directly on his Carson Daly tv show. He still posts to his former channel at Its always been rock band focused, and now is a UGC channel for his 'Last Call' performances and for other rock bands to post vids.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  10. donnied79

    donnied79 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Very interesting.
  11. rokoroko

    rokoroko Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    great post, I was reading somewhere Golf.TV for 500.000 usd was the highest reported documented sale of TV ext., but I dont remmember where I have read it.
  12. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The figure thrown out is $600,000 its not true. was actually a name that had a legal situation. The original buyer was from Korea, I believe he won the name for $1150 paid and then THE old Dot TV corp said he did not win. In speaking to Scott Higgason who ran .tv after this, he said he believed IGAL bought many names and the figure was used just for he said he did not believe it was alone that sold for that.
  13. discovernow

    discovernow Account Closed (Disallowed)

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    Ray, excellent post!!! Thanks for sharing, great days ahead for .tv!!!
  14. freedom30

    freedom30 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    1,381 accurate, enjoyable and easy to read historical analysis of the .tv extension.

    Thanks for the time and effort to put the extension in its proper perspective. Would make for intelligent reading for newbies and veterans alike.
  15. DU

    DU Secret Santa VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  16. domainacrobat

    domainacrobat Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So much babling and constant background noise have cluttered this forum, thanks Ray for always helping to give information and perspective to those who may be new around here.
  17. tj1897

    tj1897 Established Member

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    Yes the article provides a gr8 perspective to newbs on the history .. i also think newbs should bring their perpsectives on what .tv means to them to the forum as their views comprise the new landscape.

    If the bigger .tv guns then took this new revised picture and tarted it up bit and presented it as a compelling sequal to 2007 scene, to the spin masters at motley fool, we could quite easily see a lot more eyes on the space! Their newsletters go out to the masses - no time better than now given the state of global markets and retrenchment - people are hungrier than ever for the next big thing!
  18. snoop

    snoop VIP Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Seems the rose colored glasses were on when this was written, especially the only very vague reference to the 2008-2010 bust. There was also major issues in the early 2000's with lots of people losing their shirts.

    Also needs information on DotTVKing, he was the the first major .tv speculator


    He lost millions on .tv.
  19. gr8trfoo

    gr8trfoo Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So snoop, in all seriousness, do you belive that .tv would have failed as miserably as it has if it wernt for the premium renewal fee structure? Or the extra high regular fees? If it had been competively priced with .com and they had auctioned off the best at the begining would the situation be radically diffferent than now?

  20. snoop

    snoop VIP Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If the registration fees were normal and the premium situation had never happened I think it would be a in a much better position.

    I still don't think it would be in a strong position though, because it is an extension with niche appeal, it is going to be a limited market no matter how low the pricing is. I think it could have been seen as somewhat better than the other alt's but not as good as .org for example.
  21. MicroGuy

    MicroGuy Miembro Especial VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The reason that .TV has 'failed' in terms of mass adoption is directly tied to its ccTLD classification.

    In my view, this bastard status keeps smart money on the sidelines along with big business, big development, big advertising, along with the prospects of mass adoption.
  22. mwzd

    mwzd Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I missed this, didn't know till the system went down, some people got really lucky here, like you mentioned.

    All the one's I got that 'slipped' through had premium fees slapped on after the fact.

    I think this is incorrect, a premium reg CAN be transferred to any other registrar that offers .tv, I haven't tried to yet, but I have this in writing from at least.

    Good article though, gives a basic understanding to people who think .tv was launched in march 2010. :D

    Btw, snoop, any further info about this DotTVking - identity or holdings or some documentation of him 'losing millions' will be appreciated.

    Microguy - being a ccTLD hurts, but premium renewals is what kept it down all this time. Both of these are non-issues at this time.
  23. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I doubt that Samit. On the phone told me a premium registered at could not be transferred to say ENOM for example. Enom and Dynadot both said the same. A premium name cannot be transferred, I would check who said that at because that's not true.
  24. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Very likely, I think Verisign spoiled the extension for short term gain.
    Two problems:
    • no long term vision, because the lease only lasts so long. The registry 'must' milk the extension as much as possible, hindering future growth and end user adoption.
    • not a regulated TLD: there is no guarantee of stable/predictable prices
    As for the future, I'm afraid it won't be much different than the past. I think Snoop is right, the potential is there but limited by the niche nature.
  25. snoop

    snoop VIP Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    As far as registries go, I think this one has been run very well. That is from a business perspective, getting customers to pay as much as possible. They've left very little money on the table over the years with minimal spend on marketing/staff etc which has been the financial downfall of others such as .mobi.

    They've also adapted, when customers have walked out the door because they've realised it doesn't work for them verisign changes the game and brings them back it.

    They'd price other extensions they same way if they could, and if they did again there would be very little money in it for domainers and massive profits for the registry.

    ---------- Post added at 03:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:49 PM ----------

    I can't remember his name it has been so long ago, all the good stuff he owned had huge reg fees and he held for a few years. He had approx 3000 .tv's according to below and dozens, maybe hundreds of premiums from what I recall,

    Here is some old commentary from that time, over a decade ago, similar statements about the extension are still being made today,

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