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Is there any word you came across in your life that you can never forget? Mine is "foolosophy." I went to a Christian college but it does not mean everybody there is tolerant. One day a group of young people came to our campus, stood on the sidewalk, and started preaching a different kind of belief. Some of our students got upset and engaged in hot debate, followed by splashing water to our visitors. The visitors just kept on shouting the word "foolosophy." The word has since stayed with me. Why can't we live peacefully together despite our differences? Here's the post.

August 2, 2016 (Tue)

Domain names for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic


Yesterday, China relaunched its official website for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games. The domain name used is Beijing2022.cn. After I read the news, I found two things interesting that I'd like to share with you.

The first one has to do with the previous domain name used. In July last year, China secured the right to hold the 2022 Winter Olympic. Within few months, they launched their official website—on Beijing-2022.cn. Someone must have realized that the hyphen in the name is not good, so on June 20 this year the organizing committee in China registered Beijing2022.cn to replace Beijing-2022.cn as the official website. Beijing-2022.cn still holds the same contents even though it is no longer promoted.

Let's pause and reflect on what happened. Suppose the game was to be held in Los Angeles and only LosAngeles-2022.com was registered. Is it likely that some shrew speculator in the US would have registered LosAngeles2022.com within that one-year window of opportunity? Why didn't it happen in China?

Did no one really notice Beijing2022.cn was available after Beijing-2022.cn was registered? Or, does it tell you something about the nature of country extension? A country extension, no matter how it is marketed, is always subject to the control of its government at the end of the day. The government can take away any domain name on their country extension.

The other is a question about Beijing2022.com. It is currently a very simple blogging site with a couple of videos thrown in. The domain name was registered in 2008 but ownership information is not disclosed. The question is: will the Chinese government use .com for the games?

Let's look at Beijing 2008 Olympics. Wayback Machine shows that Beijing2008.com was not registered by China but in 2005 it became the official site of Beijing 2008 Olympics. Then, in 2007 it redirected to Beijing2008.cn which became the official website. That indicates Chinese government's preference for .cn not .com when it comes to national pride and control.

What about other countries? In 2014, when Russia held the winter Olympic, they promoted Sochi.ru but it redirected to Sochi2014.com, making .com as the default official website. Funny that Russia trusted the US and used .com in this event. For Rio 2016 Olympics, Google search on "rio olympics" shows Rio2016.com as the top search result, again showing the preference for .com.

So, what have I learned? First, hyphen is not preferred in China. Next, we need to be aware of the risks in investing in country extensions, especially those which have been repositioned as generic extensions (such as .me, .co, and .tv).