Single-letter second-level domain

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Single-letter second-level domains are domain names in which the second-level domain consists of only one letter, such as x.com. In 1993, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) explicitly reserved all single-letter and single-digit second-level domain names in the top-level domains com, net, and org, and grandfathered those that had already been assigned. In December 2005, ICANN considered auctioning these domains.

Active single-letter domains[edit]

On December 1, 1993, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) explicitly reserved the remaining single-letter and single-digit domain names. The few domains that were already assigned were grandfathered in and continued to exist.[1][better source needed]

The assigned domains in this group are the following:

Domain 1993 Owner Current Owner
i.net INet Solutions Ltd Future Media Architects
q.com JG CenturyLink
q.net Privately owned Q Networks
x.com Weinstein & DePaolis Elon Musk
x.org The Open Group X.Org Foundation
z.com HomePage.com GMO Internet, Inc.

Some other gTLD single-letter domain names are also in use, usually as shortcuts.

Domain Current User Usage
a.co Amazon.com Amazon's official URL shortcut. Generally used by Amazon in SMS messages for informing purchasers of activity on an order
a.org AutismAwareness.com Awareness project coming soon by AutismAwareness.com
b.org benevolent.net Shortcut to benevolent.net
g.co Google Google's official URL shortcut
m.me Facebook Facebook Messenger's official URL shortcut.
o.co Overstock.com URL shortcut for Overstock.com.
q.com CenturyLink Shortcut to a CenturyLink setup page asking for a Go Code.
t.co Twitter Twitter's official URL shortcut
t.me Telegram Telegram's official URL shortcut
e.im MailTime URL shortcut for MailTime Email Messenger
v.me Visa Inc. Visa's official URL shortcut
w.org WordPress Redirects to wordpress.org, has some assets for wordpress.org (under s.w.org) (see for example wordpress.org/news/2013/12/parker/).

Many other single-letter second-level domains have been registered under country code top-level domains. The list of Country code top-level domains which have been identified to allow single-letter domains are : .ac .af .ag .ai .am .bo .by .bz .cm .cn .co .cr .cz .cx .dj .de .dk .fm .gd .gg .gl .gp .gs .gt .gy .hn .ht .ie.[2] im .io .je .kg .ki .kw .la .lb .lc .ly .md .mg .mk .mp .ms .mw .mx .mu .nf .nz .pe .ph .pk .pl .pn .pr .pw .ro .sh .st .tc .tl .tt .to .tv .ua .ws .vc .vg .vn and .vu.[3]

Single-character non-ASCII second-level domains also exist (as seen below), also known as Internationalized domain names (IDN), these domains are actually registered as their Punycode translations (which are more than a single character) for DNS purposes.

Domain Punycode Usage Registered On (WHOIS)
𐊠.com xn--967c.com
𐊡.com xn--b77c.com 26 Shirts' official URL shortcut 29 April 2018
𐊢.com xn--c77c.com
𐊤.com xn--e77c.com
𐊥.com xn--f77c.com
ዘ.com xn--g3d.com
𐊦.com xn--g77c.com
ḷ.com xn--mhg.com
𐊰.com xn--q77c.com Mahdi Taghizadeh's official URL shortcut 16 April 2018
𐊪.com xn--k77c.com
𐊫.com xn--l77c.com
𐊯.com xn--p77c.com
ፐ.com xn--v6d.com Crypto Chain University's official URL shortcut 10 December 2014
𐋊.com xn--h87c.com
☓.com xn--33h.com Herbert R. Sim's official URL shortcut 3 February 2005
𐊲.com xn--s77c.com AnaptysBio's official URL shortcut 2 March 2018
𐋇.com xn--e87c.com
ᩅ.com xn--rnf.com
☺.com xn--74h.com Daniel Früh's official URL shortcut 3 June 2004
ツ.com xn--bdk.com 13 April 2004
ꙮ.com xn--xx8a.com 17 October 2018

Project94[edit]

In 2012, the Public Interest Registry (PIR) initiated Project94, in which 94 one- and two-letter domains in the top-level domain org, that had been traditionally reserved, are awarded to qualifying organizations.[4]

Two-letter domain names[edit]

Two-letter second-level domain names under the new generic top-level domains are viewed as a potential source of confusion with country code top-level domains and must be reserved, according to the gTLD Registry Agreement, pending agreement on a process for releasing them after appropriate measures have been taken.[5]

Two-letter .com domain names were never reserved. It was possible for anyone to register them in the very early years of the Internet (from 1985 to 1998). The first company to own an active two-letter domain was Hewlett-Packard. Since 1998 all permutations of the 26 × 26 = 676 .com domains have been registered and (barring the very unlikely event of a lapse in registration) they can only be obtained by buying them from the previous owner. In 1997 American Airlines was the first company to buy a two-letter domain (AA.com) on the secondary market, followed in 1998 by Hennes & Mauritz (HM.com) and Deutsche Bank (DB.com).[6]

Notable examples of two letter .com domains used by Individuals and large corporations

There are also less prominent .com two letter domains with a combination of letters and numbers:

In most top-level domains such as .info, two-letter domains are not available.

Market value of single- or two-letter domains[edit]

Only three of the 26 possible single-letter domains have ever been registered in the .com domain extension, all before 1992. The other 23 single-letter .com domains were registered January 1, 1992 by Jon Postel[7], with the intention to avoid a single company commercially controlling a letter of the Alphabet. Many but not all .com two-letter domains are among the most valuable domains.

While it is widely believed that the domains business.com and sex.com have been the most valuable domain transactions, prominent two-letter domains have only been sold after nondisclosed transactions handled by specialized broker and law firms.

The value of the LG Corp (the South Korean electronics conglomerate formerly known as Lucky Goldstar) purchase of LG.com was never published. LG Group missed the first sale of the domain in 2008 from the original owner the chemical company Lockwood Greene to the dot-com entrepreneur Andy Booth; Booth had used it to launch a footballing website known as LifeGames. LG Corp bought "lg.com" one year later, in 2009. Following the purchase, LG Group changed worldwide marketing to LG.com, which is now their central internet address for all countries. All national LG country domains like "LG.de" or "LG.com.mx" redirect to "LG.com".

The value of the initially secret November 2010 Facebook purchase of FB.com was revealed two months later to be $8.5 million in cash and the rest in stocks.[8]

IG Group paid $4.7 million in September 2013 to buy IG.com [9]

GMO Internet Inc. purchased Z.com for nearly $6.8 million from Nissan, who previously used it for the Nissan Z series cars.[10]

Controversy[edit]

With the 2005 announcement that registration of the remaining single-letter names might become available, some companies have attempted to establish a right to the names by claiming trademark rights over single letters used in such a context. U magazine, a college oriented publication, went so far as to re-brand its website as "U.com" and apply for a trademark registration of the same phrase, before sending a letter to ICANN attempting to gain priority for the domain if it should ever become available in the future.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bill Manning; Eric Brunner; Donald Eastlake (March 2000). I-D draft-ietf-dnsind-iana-dns-01. IETF. p. 15. https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-dnsind-iana-dns-01#page-15. 
  2. ^ One and Two Letter .IE Domains Now Available "The release of short .ie domain names " Dublin, 12 October 2015
  3. ^ Hofman Laursen, Christopher The World's Shortest Domain Names: How To Get a One Character Domain, Copenhagen, 01 December 2014. Retrieved on 04 December 2014.
  4. ^ Project 94
  5. ^ "Two Character SLDs - ICANN". www.icann.org. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  6. ^ Two Letter .coms Activation Timeline
  7. ^ "ICANN Establishes Forum on Allocation Methods for Single-Letter and Single-Digit Domain Names". www.icann.org. ICANN. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  8. ^ Transaction of the FB.com domain
  9. ^ "IG.com sells for $4.7 Million". morganlinton.com.
  10. ^ Michael Berkens. "Z.com Sold For $6.8 Million Dollars". TheDomains.com.
  11. ^ "U.com letter" (PDF). icann.org.

External links[edit]