There's gold in dem hills: 1000s of two-byte domains hit market
Ever wanted f1.lawyer or b4.social? Now your chance
More than 20,000 rare two-character domain names have been put onto the open market today by domain registry Rightside.
The company has the rights to sell domains under 38 different endings, including .lawyer, .rocks, .band, .social and .ninja, with just over 30 of them live.
Having received permission from domain name overseers ICANN to sell two-character names under each, the company has put them all up for sale at once.
While we're not talking dot-com domains - which go for millions of dollars - don’t expect them to be cheap: they will range from $200 to up to $50,000 a year for specific "platinum" names.
Rightside suggested 2B.social, 21.rocks and A1.lawyer as valuable internet addresses. At the time of writing, all three are available, although a search for A1.lawyer asks you to "submit an offer for this reserved premium domain".
The prices also vary wildly across registrars so if you’re interested in getting one, it pays to shop around. For example '2b.social' costs $937.50 on Rightside's own Name.com website but $1,425 on Gandi.net and $1,499 on GoDaddy. Likewise 21.rocks: $625 on Name.com, $950 on Gandi and $999 at GoDaddy.
The reason the domains are rare, apart from the fact that they are very short, is that under the current rules all two-character domains are reserved due to potential conflicts with countries' traditional online identifiers: "us" for the United States, "de" for Germany and so on.
A registry has to specifically request an exemption from this rule, and governments can reject applications if they think they are a problem.
The value of those two-character domain names is apparent in the domains left available at the time of writing. Large numbers of letter-number and number-letter combinations are still available, although letter-letter domains are unavailable at the order of ICANN.
And that also extends to two-letters that are not on the official 3166-1 ISO list. So if your dream was always to have 'fu.lawyer', hard luck, someone's already beaten you to it. ®