How Anguilla, a tiny island in the Caribbean, is riding the AI domain wave Part 2

Views:415 Time:2023-09-06 00:03:10 Author: NiceNIC.NET

How Anguilla, a tiny island in the Caribbean, is riding the AI domain wave Part 2

Overall, the number of existing .ai domains is tiny compared to, say, the number of .com domains registered. That's closer to 160 million, according to Matt Zook, a professor at the University of Kentucky who has a decades-long research project called ZookNIC that tracks registrations of domain names across the world.

 

For Anguilla, however, it's big business. The territory covers roughly 35 square miles between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of less than 20,000. Its economy relies largely on tourism, which took a hit during the pandemic. Now it's seeing a bump in revenue from the heightened demand for .ai domains and a pre-planned increase in the price for such registrations.

 

Anguilla brought in $7.4 million from .ai domain registrations in 2021, according to public records, and previously estimated it would receive $8.3 million from domain registrations in 2023. Now Cate estimates Anguilla will bring in between $25 million and $30 million this year.

 

"We're blowing past that," Cate said. "We did not anticipate ChatGPT."

 

Even at the low end of that range, $25 million would be close to a quarter of the almost $107 million in recurring revenue the territory expected to bring in throughout 2023, according to a December prediction from Anguilla's Ministry of Finance. It would also represent a meaningful percentage of the territory's gross domestic product, which totaled just over $300 million in 2021, according to United Nations data.

 

Mar Hicks, an associate professor of data science at the University of Virginia and a historian of computing, said the rise in popularity of .ai makes sense given such internet domains have long been associated with US business interests, where the current AI boom is largely centered.

 

"It just seems to be one more example of how we're going through an AI gold rush right now," Hicks said.

 

Hicks expects to see some .ai cybersquatting, similar to what unfolded in the early days of the dot-com boom in the 1990s where some large companies had to negotiate-or even sue-to get control of their names online. For now, at least, it's often easier for companies to land .ai domains than the .com version.

 

Character.AI, which lets anyone create their own customized chatbot, took advantage of this when launching to its earliest users in September 2022. The startup, founded in 2021, snapped up a website address that's identical to the company's name. In a statement, co-founder and President Daniel De Freitas said going with the .ai domain name "was the natural choice" for the company.

 

Over time, Hicks thinks there will be less interest in such domains as enthusiasm surrounding all things AI declines. But even as Cate already sees some signs of demand cooling off, he thinks .ai domain registrations will continue to grow.

 

"I think we're in the early days of artificial intelligence, so I think we're still in the early days of .ai domain names," Cate said.

 

Source from indiatimes

 

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