January 13, 2017
You may not have heard of Montenegro, but one of its best known exports is its domain name extension - .ME.
Montenegro is a small country in Southeastern Europe bordered by Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Covering an area of just 13,812 km2, it's less than a quarter of the size of Tasmania; but is home to around 600,000 people.
Montenegro gained independence in June of 2006 and was given the country code .ME. In 2007, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) completed delegation of .ME as the country’s Top Level Domain (TLD).
Unlike in the case of domain names ending in .AU, Montenegro's government decided it would open up .ME registrations to the world - and it seems that decision has been a very profitable move.
The contract to run the registry was awarded to doMEn, Ltd, a Montenegrin joint venture doing business as .Me Registry.
Just three days after its official public launch in 2008, .ME recorded its 100,000th registration and by March 2016, the one-millionth registration had taken place.
According to TechCrunch, .ME accounts for just over 2 percent of Montenegro's total export revenue.
The .ME extension has been popular with individuals rather than businesses and the largest share of registrants hail from the USA and China.
In Australia, an extension designated for personal use is .ID.AU - it's a great way for Aussies to identify themselves as such. Unlike .ME, .ID.AU registrants must either be an Australian citizen or resident.
The .ID.AU extension has been available since 1995 - you can learn more about .ID.AU domain names here.
Montenegro isn't the only country to have allowed registrations from outside its country. Several other notable cases are .TK (Tokelau), .TV (Tuvalu) and .CO (Colombia). For those countries, their domain extension has also proved to be a financial windfall.
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