What is an .ai domain
The .ai domain name extension is an easy way to identify your startup or business or personal website with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and other Future Technologies. While many one-word prestige domain names ending in .com are unattainable or cost millions, you can own a short easy to remember one word .ai domain name in the thousands or tens of thousands, or even for the small registration fee of $100.
Next on our series of articles about the diverse range of domain extensions available is this one, covering everything you need to know about the .ai domain.
With a population in Anguilla of approximately 15,000 people, you wouldn’t expect there to be a massive demand for their ccTLD, the .ai domain. However, what this article will help explain is why there are far more domains than people in Anguilla and how it has been embraced by tech firms of all shapes and sizes, from the giants like Google and Meta, down to small start-ups.
To fully understand the .ai domain phenomenon, it is important to reflect on the history of domain name extensions and how we got to the current array of domains. So let’s get started…
What is the history of domain name extensions and where are we now?
Domain name extensions like.ai have come about because of the need to evolve a system that started back in the early 1980s. The reason for the Domain Name System (DNS) being invented is that originally if you wished to connect to a different user you would have to write a numerical address.
Clearly, in the early days when it was more of a closed shop, this wasn’t a major issue but as the internet started to develop and become widely used a change was required. Originally developed for ARPAnet, a domain name converts a website’s IP address into a more readable name.
When we talk about domain name extensions or Top-level Domains (TLDs), we refer to the end part of the domain name. As a helpful example, look at our domain www.cloudname.com. Everything after ‘cloudname’ is the TLD, which in this case is .com.
The organisation that allocates these TLDs, approves registrars to manage them and many other aspects of the internet is The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The options available to you now
Over time, domain extensions have evolved from the initial handful to countless varieties to choose from. Ultimately, all of these variations fall into four categories and it is important to be aware of the differences as they can sometimes affect the performance of your website or the ability to utilise it fully.
If you’d like to read more about this topic then we recommend this article on the Cloudname site.
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)
The original set of TLDs that we will all be very familiar with, including .com, .net and .org. Thanks to their history and reputation, these TLDs are in high demand and it can be challenging to find the perfect domain you want with an extension like .com.
Country-code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)
As part of the development of domain extensions, each country has been allocated their own TLDs. Most common examples include .co.uk for the United Kingdom and .ca for Canada. These are often owned by the government of that country and link a website to that particular region. This is the category that .ai domains fall under, but used for different purposes as we will discover.
New Generic Top-Level Domains (new gTLDs)
The marketplace for domains is an increasingly competitive one, with more and more people wanting websites or domains for their crypto wallets. As a result, new gTLDs are regularly announced to help diversify this market. Whilst lacking the history or reputation of older extensions, they do offer more creative and industry-focused options like .tech and .blog.
With the development of blockchain technology and the increasing support for cryptocurrency, a new form of domain extension has been developed. Crypto domains differ in a few ways from normal TLDs, particularly in the fact that they are based on a blockchain and so can be purchased indefinitely as opposed to renewed each year. They are used for crypto wallets and websites.
So what is the .ai domain extension and why was it developed?
The .ai domain extension was initially created for Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory island in the Caribbean. The intention for this domain extension was like any of ccTLD in that it was to represent websites of businesses and people living and operating in this country.
However, given the country has a population of approximately 15,000 it was clear that demand for a domain intrinsically linked to Artificial Intelligence (AI) was going to be used for different purposes.
Technology companies across the world, particularly those with a focus on AI have snapped up the .ai equivalent of their existing domains and many others because of the domain hack potential.
Now that we know the history, let’s think about who uses them and why they are growing in popularity
Let’s start with who uses them and the simple answer is all of the major technology players! Google not only owns google.ai but also purchased start-ups that had their own .ai domains.
It is easier see understand why this is happening if we look at some financial information relating to the AI industry. In 2020, corporations invested almost $68 billion in artificial intelligence. This is an incredible number which shows the increasing focus on this area of science.
As a result, the .ai domain is becoming more and more popular for those entering or expanding their presence in the arena of artificial intelligence.
The main reasons why they are so popular
We have already touched on the main reasons why an .ai domain extension is a popular choice for organisations and projects around the world. However, there is more to it than simply artificial intelligence, as we have summarised below:
- – Artificial Intelligence: The most common reason for going with this type of domain extension. Whenever we say AI, it is almost unanimously linked to artificial intelligence and if you refer to a domain with .ai then this connection is also immediately made.
- – Domain name hacks: As a result of the website ending in .ai, it allows many people to create a website that spells something specific like their brand name. This is sometimes more important than the connection with artificial intelligence.
- – Availability: Like many other new gTLDs, their availability is better than traditional extensions as fewer people have opted for an extension with .ai. This makes it easier to get your chosen website name.
- – Connection with the future: Whenever we talk about technology and artificial intelligence, we are talking about the future. By owning a domain with .ai, you are creating a link between your business or service and the future.
The difference between .ai and .io domains
You may have some concerns about whether you should invest in an .ai or .io domain and whilst they both closely relate to the world of tech there are some key differences.
When we refer to ‘IO’ in the tech world, we often mean input/output, a more generic term that can be linked to different aspects of technology such as data. We talk more about that here. When it comes to .ai, the implication is more specific in that it refers to artificial intelligence.
Ultimately, you can get any domain extension you wish for your business or project but it is important to think about the impression that you give to potential customers when they see your domain name. It has to make sense, it has to engage and it has to drive them to your website.
Are there any risks associated with .ai domain extensions?
With any domain extension, there can be risks but in general, they can be mitigated by being aware of the risks and understanding what they mean. To help, we’ve summarised a couple of the key challenges internet users face.
Firstly, just because a website ends in .ai, it doesn’t mean it relates to the field of artificial intelligence. You should always be careful and do your research on the website and organisation behind it before trading with them or sharing information.
Secondly, for those looking to invest in domains as a trading opportunity, it is a smaller market than others and still not the most widely used. For example, large corporations have purchased .ai domains but often they still just redirect you to their traditional .com domain. This may mean they are a riskier investment for now but could also pay off in the long term.
With the development of new technology and the introduction of new domain extensions, it is important to remember that there are existing extensions out there like .ai that can be repurposed. If each country or region has a ccTLD, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be used for that specific location.
In many cases, Google doesn’t penalise a website due to geo-location issues and so a ccTLD can turn into a brand-friendly, engaging domain for your organisation.
If you want to get started and explore the different domains available to trade, join the community at Cloudname, the first truly all-in-one domain trading platform.
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