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The .io Domain Surges

While we’re all familiar with .com, .org, .net and .edu, most people are unfamiliar with the .io domain. But according to industry statistics, its use more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, with approximately 400,000 websites registered as .io.

What is the .io domain?

The .io domain is the internet country code top-level domain (“ccTLD”) that is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory. A ccTLD is a domain generally reserved for a country, sovereign state or dependent territory identified with a country code.  

Why the sudden popularity?

Far from a new listing, .io has been around for a while. (While they don’t seem to be currently using it, Levi Strauss & Co. was the first company to register this domain when it created levi.io in 1998.) However, it’s only during the last couple of years has .io started to gain some traction. This traction is attributed to a pair of factors:

  1. Domain name availability – Because millions of websites are created each year, the availability of the more mainstream domain names is dwindling. This could be partially due to the fact that registering and selling domain names has become a thriving business.
  2. Acronym significance – The letters “io” do have some cache in the technology world, by representing “input/output.” It has also been interpreted as "internet organization." These are concepts that technology business owners, vendors and clients can appreciate.

Where do we go from here?

Both individuals and businesses can register this domain (to do so, visit nic.io), which presents some unique opportunities. Might we see domain names such as card.io for medical device or fitness companies, or perhaps r.io for Brazilian tourism?  While it currently only represents 0.1% of all websites, the future for .io looks good. And if someone hasn’t already taken it, I’m thinking of registering Amar.io. Who knows? In time, I might be able to parlay it into a nice windfall.  

Amar Bhatkhandé is an Audit Partner and a leader in the Life Sciences and Technology Services Group for the firm's West Coast practice, with over 25 years of experience in public accounting and 2 years in private.

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