I have mixed feelings regarding the story about the little island of Tokelau and the way an entrepreneur has boosted its GDP by 10% by selling the top level domain name. Already there have been more than 1.6m domain names ending in .tk sold. It brings about the question of whether the people buying these names are diluting the search market for others.
If the dotcom, .net, .co.uk and others have gone for a word like ‘guardian’ should anybody be allowed to buy guardian.tk. We know that many entrepreneurs have tried to buy Italian top level domains in the past, more for creative reasons than any other, but have found the process quite stringent.
Should ICANN have allowed the rights to .tk domains to be bought and used in such a liberal way? It’s wonderful that the Pacific islanders in question have gained great opportunities but what does it mean for search if in the future there are many similar domain names. If Google responds by putting less emphasis on the domain name within a search then many businesses will suffer.