Montenegro: the country that exports domain names

Not your typical economy for a country of 600k people.

January 11, 2017

Montenegro separated from Serbia 10 years ago to become its own independent country, albeit one the size of Connecticut.

Since then, the country’s exports include pig meat, cars, raw aluminum… but perhaps most notably, the country’s custom domain name extension, .me.

Wait, every country has a custom domain name?

Yep, pretty much all of them. America has .us, Canada has .ca, the UK has, well, .uk. And, Montenegro has .me.

The government of Montenegro originally set up a 5-year agreement between domain registry services, Afilias Limited, and ME-net Ltd., but has extended the contract through 2023, thanks to popular demand.

It’s a global phenomenon

.me domain registrations surpassed 1m in 2016 (the country’s population is only about 600k) thanks to a majority of foreign registrars, led by the US and China. And, as of 2015, Montenegro generated about $334m from it annually, enough to make up about 2% of the country’s total exports.

And it makes sense, right? Who wouldn’t want a personal email domain with extension .me? It’s catchy, custom, and a marketer’s dream for when all the good .com sites are already taken.

In fact, .me and .co (Colombia’s domain name) are the 2 extensions credited with starting the alternate domain name marketing phase. E.g. every app buying a .io website in 2015.

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