Published April 26, 2011
You may have seen the .nu domain name around - but do you know its origins?
The extension .nu is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) representing Niue, a tiny island nation located around 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand.
Small in size and population, Nuie consists of a land area of just 260 square kilometres and is home to a population of around 1,800 people - one of the smallest countries in the world. However tiny and remote the nation may be, the people of Nuie are well versed in technology and it was the first country to offer free wireless Internet services to all its inhabitants, which occurred in 2003.
Nuie was also one of the first countries to offer its domain extension to international registrants, the proceeds of which helped to fund the wireless Internet for its residents, as well as a program providing free computers. It is the only ccTLD model that ploughs resources into keeping an entire country's Internet services free - although recent reports indicate the services provided may be becoming substandard.
The .nu domain proved to be quite popular in Europe as nu in Swedish, Danish and Dutch means "now". However, in French, it can mean "naked" - and consequently very few .nu domain names are registered in that country.
The country's name of Nuie, means something quite different altogether. Loosely based on the Niuean language, it translates to "Look, there's a coconut", according to information from the Nuie Internet Users Society.
The Society, which is the official registry for the name, says in order to attract registrants to the domain when launching it to the world, they kept the extension as short as possible, simply .nu; rather than under second level domains like com.nu, or .org.nu.
The .nu extension isn't often seen in connection with Australian businesses, with most local companies preferring to register .com.au or .com domains as their primary name due to their level of awareness among the Australian public.
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