The .ai domain extension has seen a surge in registrations, reflecting the growing prominence of artificial intelligence on the global stage. The number of .ai domains amounted to a total of 353,928 according to the official registry, with more than 100,000 domains registered in the second half of 2023 . The numbers present a trend of rapid growth and increasing popularity, with a growth rate of 84.73% for the past 6 months of 2023, with more than 20,000 new domains registered monthly.
Initially established as the country code top-level domain for the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, the .ai ccTLD has been an ordinary country-specific domain name for a long time. But things changed with the release of ChatGPT on November 30th, 2022, resulting in an increased demand for the island’s extension.
“We’re at over 20,000 names a month in a normal month now,”, says Vincent Cate, who manages the .ai domain for Anguilla. “A normal day is over 700 names.”
Quick facts on .ai domain names
- 335,928 is the total number of .ai registered domains (through December 2023);
- 20,000 new domains are being registered each month;
- 84,73% is the .ai growth rate for the past 6 months of 2003;
- 146% is the ai. growth rate for an 18 month period (from July 2022 through December 2023);
- $700,000 was the highest publicly reported transaction for an .ai domain (you.ai);
- ~3 million USD per month is the revenue generated by .ai domains;
- $28.4 million is the revenue that the .ai domain generated in 2023;
- $140 is the amount received by Anguilla for every registered .ai domain and also for renewals;
- 6.9% is Anguilla’s 2024 GDP predicted growth based on .ai demand and tourism.
The use of .ai as a tech-denominator
The rise in .ai domain registrations is mainly driven by big technological advancements in the United States and Europe. Startups and tech companies are buying .ai-related domain names for their projects, while speculators are purchasing these domains to sell them later for a profit (a practice called domain flipping).
Tech giants like Google and Microsoft leverage .ai domains to direct users to their AI-based projects and innovations. Other companies that have artificial intelligence at their core such as Office.ai, Jasper.ai and Elon Musk’s X.ai have adopted the .ai suffix for their digital presence.
The beginning of 2024 also saw a sprout in .ai acquisitions with vision.ai having sold for 100,000 USD on January 1st, according to NamBio. The record-breaker remains the you.ai domain bought by Dharmesh Shah, the Founder of HubSpot for 700,000 USD in October 2023 .
.ai domains performed three times better than projected in 2023
The tiny country of Anguilla, with its 15,000-strong population, has long relied on tourism and offshore banking. But now, it’s riding a new wave of economic growth, thanks partly to its popular domain name.
Domain registrars like GoDaddy have to pay a fee of $140 to Anguilla for every two-year domain registration. According to Anguilla’s official Budget Address, the domain name registration has performed significantly above the budget estimate. It totalled more than 28 million USD (EC$77.18 million) for 2023, three times more than it had been projected to at the start of last year .
Vince Cate explained that things are going to get even better:
“The exciting part is at the end of this year, we will start getting the renewals from the domains that started selling when ChatGPT came out. Hopefully, we’ll have 3 million a month from the new sales and 3 million a month from the renewals. Around the end of this year to April of next year, we’ll be jumping up from almost 3 million a month to 6 million a month.”
The country’s GDP forecast for 2024 is a robust 6.95% growth, backed by both tourism and the .ai domain’s demand . The government of Anguilla recently stopped imposing residential property taxes on its citizens.
Country codes like .ai or .io were part of the ISO 3166-1 standard, set up in 1974. This was much before the internet as we know it came into existence, so the future value of these codes wasn’t thought of back then. It’s interesting to look at the impact of merely associating two letters can have over time. Hopefully, the increase generated by .ai domains will lead to more tax reductions for the people of Anguilla, now that the country has established a sustainable income source.
Special thanks to Vince Cate for providing the data needed for writing this article.