SINGAPORE--Come early November, anyone can apply for fully-numeric .sg-based domain names.
The country's national domain registrar, SGNIC (Singapore Network Information Centre), will make numeric domain names available, and plans to implement this in two phases.
The first "soft" phase will start with a registration process, opening on Nov. 5 and lasting till Dec. 28. While this is open to all applicants, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said in a statement that owners of trademarked names registered with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore will get priority.
The bidding process for domain names with more than one applicant will take place between Jan. 18 and Feb. 22. Online bidding starts on Feb. 20.
The second phase is marked by a general launch, which will allocate domain names on a first-come, first-served basis.
Domain names with certain numeric significance carry a higher price tag. These "premium" domain names are identified as platinum (single-digit domain names like 1.sg), golden (two- to 11-digit domain names), and silver (three- to 11-digit domain names), available at base bids of S$40,000 (US$27,339), S$1,000 (US$683) and S$600 (US$410), respectively.
The "ordinary" category--five- to 11-digit domain names--is available at a base bid of S$200 (US$136).
"Amid these numeric domains are some number patterns that may be sought after because they have a familiar ring about them. Some might even be deemed as auspicious, especially within the Asian culture," said Lim Choon Sai, SGNIC's general manager, in a statement.
While alphanumeric domain names already exist, fully numeric ones like www.123.sg have not been allowed till now.
According to the IDA, the restriction on numeric domain names is a throwback to the early days of the Internet, where "there were concerns" that fully numeric domain names would be confused with Internet Protocol addresses which are fully-numeric.
More registries around the world have started to permit the use of pure numeric domain names, including China and South Korea.