February 19, 2008

DotAsia launch party - a new domain land grab?

In the heady days of the 90's dotcom boom, there were launch parties in Hong Kong every week. Then it all went quiet...for far too long! Now it's starting to trickle back, and this time they mean real business, or at least charity!

The folks at the DotAsia Organisation, a not-for-profit, incorporated in Hong Kong, are hiring the latest hot spot in town, Cliq, for a grand countdown to the public launch of the ".asia" Top Level Domain (TLD) registry. It's an invite only event, but you may be able to slip in if you can prove your geek credentials at 2/F On Hing Building, On Hing Terrace, Central (7-11pm) or alternatively write a persuasive RSVP.

Given how Asia is far from being a united continent, we're not sure how the domain will take off. (Note how the map on the website includes the Middle East and ANZAC countries). They could be seen as trying to emulate the ".eu" domain for Europe, which is a more "united" continent at least with a central parliament and currency.

Nevertheless, they aspire to lofty goals :

"The .ASIA domain aspires to embrace this dynamism in the Asia Century to become a nucleus, intersection and breeding ground for Internet activity and development in the region.

* To sponsor, establish and operate a regional Internet namespace with global recognition and regional significance, dedicated to the needs of the Pan-Asia and Asia Pacific Internet community.
* To reinvest surpluses in socio-technological advancement initiatives relevant to the Pan-Asia and Asia Pacific Internet community; and
* To operate a viable not-for-profit initiative that is a technically advanced, world-class TLD registry for the Pan-Asia and Asia Pacific community."

It will be interesting to see who will lead the charge into this new domain. Will it be the local organisations or multi-nationals seeking to prove how culturally-sensitive they are?

Post-launch update: the Landrush was kicked off last night, as counted down by a posse of glamorous starlets, and will conclude on 12th March 2008. For domains with more than one bidder, they will conduct an English auction to decide the winner. From 26th March, it becomes a free for all, with a first-come-first-served registration process. The list of authorised registrants is here.

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