How And Why Of Giving Away Free Domain Names

Posted by nick_niesen on November 1st, 2010

Perhaps you already know that it is possible to get a free domain name. However, have you ever wondered how a country can afford to give away its domain names for free? Why would a country just give away its domain names instead of charging for them?

1. Free Domain Names from Dot TK

It is possible to get a free top-level domain name from Dot TK (www.dot.tk).

According to their website, "Dot TK is a joint venture of the Government of Tokelau, it's communication company Teletok and Taloha, Inc., a privately held company. The Government of Tokelau has appointed Taloha, Inc. as the exclusive registration entity."

Of course, for free .tk domains, ownership remains with Dot TK. This means that you can't sell it. As well, there are other restrictions and disadvantages of free .tk domains, including:

-You can register only a maximum of three free domain names;
-You need 25 visitors within a ninety day period;
-You need to have existing web content somewhere so that your dot tk name can be forwarded to it; and
-Dot TK uses frames to show your website. This being the case, you may have issues with navigation (bookmarking or finding specific pages) and search engine friendliness.

For serious business use, you might want to pay the nominal cost for a domain name.

2. Why Do They Offer Free Domain Names?

Still, it is free. Why would they do this when they could make money from the sale of domain names?

According to their website: "Why does Dot TK give away free domain names? We believe that the Internet was supposed to be 'Free'. Meaning no charges, payments or expected return favors."

3. How Can They Afford to Give Away Free Domain Names?

This logically leads us to our next question: How can they afford to give away free domain names?

Dot TK makes money from paid domain names, including some special and trademarked names.

To help support Dot TK, you can optionally have an ad displayed on your website. Thus, they do receive some advertising revenue from this. However, the big money would be in the sponsorship by large corporations.

4. Other Free Top-Level Domain Names

By the way, this is not the only ccTLD (country code Top-Level Domain) that gives away some domain names for free.

As just one example, cg is the ccTLD for the Republic of Congo. Each of its citizens and lawful residents are allowed one free .cg domain name.

5. Free Subdomain Names

Additionally, subdomain names are also available for free. For example, eu.org states on their website that their goal "is to provide free subdomain registration to users or non-profit organizations who cannot afford the outrageous fees demanded by some NICs, especially in Europe."

As well, nr is the ccTLD name for the Republic of Nauru. You can receive a free subdomain name from co.nr. Thus, your domain name could be something like yourcompany.co.nr.

Why do countries give away free domain names? They want their citizens and others to be able to enjoy the benefits of domain name use without cost being an issue. It can also be a promotional method designed to get the word out about their ccTLD.

How can these countries afford to give away free domain names? Advertising revenue and the sale of paid domains are two ways of funding free domain names.

Also See: Free Domain, Dot Tk, Domain Names, Domain Name, Tk, Names, Name
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