Have you heard of Freedom Registry? Probably not, so pay close attention, because it is likely that you will be hearing a lot about this new company in the weeks and months to come. FDR is marketing and proposing a disruptive new business model to operators/registries of the new generic top level domains (new gTLDs) that could shake things up across the entire domain industry if widely adopted.
Their TLD monetization services seem to be unlike anything else on the market currently. In the company’s own words: “Domains are a commodity. Give them away for free! Just like email services are provided for free these days (think Gmail and Hotmail), we believe the best way to attract registrants to your TLD is to give away your domain names for free.”
Freedom Registry says that they know that giving out free domain names makes good business sense. A subsidiary of the company, Dot TK, has been the registry for the Tokelau country-code TLD since 2001. Dot TK is the only ccTLD registry that gives away free domain names, to anybody. It only takes a few minutes to register and activate a new domain that ends in .TK.
As a result, Tokelau (.tk) is now the third largest country code top level domain registry in the world, behind Germany (.de) and United Kingdom (.uk) and it has more active domain names registrations than Russia and China combined. According to the company’s website, Freedom Registry predicts over 1 billion domains in just a few years from now, in 2015.
“The world of domain name registrations is about to undergo huge changes. Over the next few years the number of TLDs available will dramatically increase as ICANN opens up the root zone for new gTLDs. The supply of domain names will be almost endless. If TLDs offer registration for free, the demand will be huge.
In a country like the Netherlands there is a registered domain name for every three internet users. If we assume that in the near future the same ratio (1:3) will apply globally, we can expect to see the number of registered domain names jump from 200 million today to more than a billion in 2015.”
We reached out to Joost Zuurbier, founder and CEO of Dot TK and Freedom Registry as well. He told us that by the end of this year his new company hopes to add 6 more ccTLD’s. In his own words: “There is a lot of interest from smaller countries that want to use their extension for free domains.” By 2015, Joost believes that Freedom Registry will be serving 150 or more new gTLD’s, and some additional smaller ccTLD’s as well will be coming into the picture.
According to an official count at NIC.tk, there are over 9 million .TK domains registered currently. Give it another month or two, and the TK ccTLD will overtake the current 2nd largest ccTLD in the world .UK, which is currently at a little over 10.3 million registrations, according to Nominet.
According to ICANN, it may take anywhere from 9 to 20 month’s for any new gTLD to get approved and become available on the web for registrations. No one knows how long it is going to take for sure, since there are many variables at play, but FDR is ready to seize on the opportunity and help promote the expansion of the internet – which is happening whether you like it or not.
It’s worth noting that the company sponsored the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica, earlier this year and is also sponsoring the upcoming meeting in Prague, which kicks off in less than 2 weeks. They have been mingling with many industry insiders all year long and have made their presence known. Expect some big announcements to be made soon involving FDR and “free domain” ventures.