Tiny Tuvalu cashes in on '.tv' domains

The South Pacific scores more than three times its national budget by selling .tv domain to Idealab!

Tuvalu, a tiny South Pacific nation measuring 26 square kilometers, has sold the use of its domain name -- .tv -- to Idealab! in a deal that promises to garner Tuvalu more than three times its national budget. Under the terms of the agreement, the archipelago will receive $50m per year for the next dozen years; the contract will be renegotiated in 2012.

The Tuvalu islands have already garnered $15m from the deal, enough to transform the existence of a country where the annual budget tops out at $14m per year.

The per-capita revenue of the 10,600 residents is on its way to becoming one of the highest on the planet, up from an average of $400.

In 1998, Tuvalu closed a deal with Canada's TV, but that agreement fell through. The current deal is with Idealab! , a startup incubator based in Pasadena, California. One of its portfolio companies, dubbed DotTV, will auction off URLs ending in ".tv."

Proposed addresses include letters of the alphabet (a.tv, b.tv, etc.) as well as names such as "pepsi.tv" and "marilynmonroe.tv."

Gaëlle Vacher reports for ZDNet France. Translation by Matthew Rothenberg, ZDNet News.

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