AI Fever Transforms Anguilla’s Internet Domain into a Lucrative Digital Gold Mine
The global obsession with artificial intelligence, or AI, could contribute up to 10 percent of Anguilla’s GDP this year, thanks to a unique coincidence. The internet domain for Anguilla is “.ai”, which happens to be the abbreviation for artificial intelligence. This has made the domain incredibly popular and valuable.
While $30 million may seem like a small amount compared to the investment and earnings of larger companies and countries in the field of AI, it is a significant figure for a small state like Anguilla, which covers an area of just 91 km2 and has a population of around 14 thousand. This income is especially important for Anguilla as it heavily relies on tourism, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Web hosting and domain registration companies, such as GoDaddy Anguilla based in the US, have to pay a fixed price of $140 for a two-year registration. However, due to the high demand for AI-related domains, prices are increasing.
In 2021 alone, Anguilla generated $7.4 million in revenue from .ai domain registrations. This figure increased significantly with the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot, which sparked a global AI frenzy and led to a surge in technology investments. According to Vince Cate, who has overseen Anguilla’s domain registration for many years, the number of “.ai” registrations has doubled in the past year.
“Since November 30, things have been very different here,” highlights Cate.
Since 1995, Anguilla has been responsible for assigning web addresses with the “.ai” domain. Country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) were introduced in 1985, including domains like “.us” for the US, “.uk” for the United Kingdom, and “.de” for Germany. Originally, these domains were intended to represent countries and were often used for websites focusing on those countries.
Over time, some ccTLDs, such as “.tv” for Tuvalu, gained additional meanings and broader usage, especially when their abbreviations coincidentally stood for something else, such as AI for artificial intelligence. As a result, prominent AI startups like Stability.ai and Character.ai have opted for domain names ending in “.ai”. These cases have greatly contributed to the financial success of this British island in the Lesser Antilles.
While some experts predict a decline in the “AI gold rush” and a potential cooling of the market for “.ai” domains, the impact on Anguilla’s economy is already significant. With domain income projected to reach up to 10 percent of its GDP this year, Anguilla serves as a prime example of how a small Caribbean island can benefit from the booming global tech industry.