This is the story of how .ME celebrated million registered domains. Or better yet, this is the story of how .ME domain name became one of the most recognised export goods from Montenegro.
But before we get into ins and outs of our path to a million registered domains, we’d like to take this opportunity and thank our amazing community of .MErs for being the true champions of .ME’s brand.
Can One Be Predestined For Success In The Business World?
.ME has a specific meaning in many languages. The right combination of words can be an excellent call-to-action when added to the suffix .ME. But still, this has real use-value only if end users are aware of these possibilities. In other words, a product becomes interesting and desirable only when the user finds out about it and understands how it is used or how it can be used.
So let me ask you, do you feel compelled to register a domain name now? What if I tell you that PayPal uses the .ME domain (PayPal.Me) as a verb, to help you memorize the link for sending money? Or that Zalo.Me (Zalo – Vietnamese greeting for establishing a conversation over the phone) is the most popular chat application in Vietnam? Or that Ele.Me (are you hungry?) is the largest food delivery service in China? Would you change your mind?
Or maybe if you’d know that the combination firstname.lastname@example.org is widely used for family email addresses, and namesurname.me as a website address. Now, do you perhaps want to register a domain for yourself?
We were also aware of this problem in 2008. After the initial storm of interest in .ME, when over 50,000 domains were registered in 24 hours, we realized that those who actually needed to use the domain aren’t aware of its existence. Then, during 2009, the marketing team of GoDaddy, one of the co-owners of .ME, entered the scene and reached an agreement with Auttomatic (renowned for its WordPress service) and Facebook for the use of the wp.me and fb.me domains.
Shortly afterwards, the doors of Silicon Valley in the United States opened, and the Montenegrin company .ME started intensive marketing activities when, for the first time in the domain industry, one registry decided to directly promote it to end-users. One of the most important activities at that time was the cooperation with the web portal TechCrunch, which has more than 15 million daily users. Interest in the .ME domain was thus growing in the US tech community and as a result we started seeing startups like FormSpring.ME. But also About.ME, ID.ME and dozens of others.
The majority of those from the first wave of registrations are not active today. Some have been successfully sold, but a number of them have become world-renowned services. We are proud of their success, and they are proud of the .ME brand, which enabled them to become what they are today without encountering any problems.
The Global Competitiveness
All these activities did not go unnoticed in the industry, nor outside of it. Following the marketing success of the .ME domain, shortly afterwards the .CO domain was launched globally, while the .IM (I’m) domain experienced its rise thanks to the popularity of .ME domain. The latest example of successful national top-level domain extensions is the extension .IO, which was recognized by the IT developers. Over time, the popularity in the USA split over to Europe and resulted in the interest of the BBC group.
Now, a regular part of our work is maintaining relationships with journalists around the world. And among them, in the second half of 2010, was a journalist from BBC Radio, originally from our region. Her interview and the story she covered about the .ME domain for the Radio One was rebroadcast by the BBC News team and shown on the BBC 1 TV channel. Soon after the announcement, there was an explosion of interest, and a trace of that information still exists today.
Whether you’re a company or an individual, .ME is currently a synonym for building a personal brand on the internet. But, more importantly, it is a synonym for its community of business partners and users of which everyone is proud to be a part. The real strength of the brand is that emotional connection. The fact that it was built over the years, and that along the way everyone contributed in their own way. And by that, we mean both employees and industry brands like GoDaddy and Afilias, or media outlets like the BBC.
An Important Part Of The Business – Where Can You Register a .ME Domain?
Earlier we talked about how big of a change a couple of letters can make. For example, a company that provides you with a registration service is called a registrar (sites and companies that register your domain – GoDaddy, Namecheap, Network Solutions…). And, a company that maintains the domain name directory is called a registry (company .ME ). This would reflect in real life and the market like this: if you want to register your domain, you search the site www.domain.me and look for the appropriate domain name. Then, you come across a free domain that perfectly describes your business, but you do NOT perform the registration on our site.
We’d like to remind you that we maintain a domain name registry. We give you the opportunity to visit one of over 350 accredited registrars worldwide but the decision is up to you. And you will probably register the domain where the service is most appealing to your needs.
Registrars Around The World
All in all, it is clear that one of the crucial roles is played by registrars who enable domain registration. Some of them are the largest in the Chinese market, some are well known in Spanish-speaking countries, some are dominant in the United States. Still, someone whose reputation in the early years of business allowed .ME to grow into what it is today, is the largest global registrar, GoDaddy. We say “the largest global” because of the total number of registered domains, GoDaddy has as many as 14.60% registered (for comparison, the next largest one, NameCheap, has only 2.71% of the market). When you are on the “shelves” of such companies, no one questions the quality of the product.
It is their reputation as a global company that has allowed other large corporations to register the .ME domain and decide to entrust their global business operations to the .ME domain. All because they invested their reputation in the .ME project. In this way, additional security is provided to all small companies or individuals to trust .ME, to register a domain and set up their website.
Thus, the fact that GoDaddy is one of the founders of the company that manages the Montenegrin national domain, resonated in the business world. It became a golden ticket to new markets which otherwise might have not responded that well to the Montenegrin product.
To Wrap Up
Yes, the million registered domains we have recorded is indeed a success – but it is important to point out that it is a success for the whole team. The entire .ME team, the entire Afilias team, the entire GoDaddy team, and all the registrars we work with, as well as members of the local community we’re part of. From all of this, the fact that we have managed to build an extremely strong community is what makes us extremely happy and proud. We will soon write more about how the business has developed over the years.