'.nl' and '.sg' go back to basics: numeric domain names now allowed


The Dutch registry for the '.nl' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), SIDN, has announced that it is now allowing the registration of domain names consisting of digits only (eg, '501.nl'). The registration of a combination of letters and digits, such as 'bmwx5.nl', was already possible.

Proprietors of a name or trademark had a two-week sunrise period from December 1 to December 14 2007 to register their numerical names and trademarks in the '.nl' extension. Numeric '.nl' domains have been available to the public from mid-January 2008.

In addition, SGNIC, the Singaporean registry for the '.sg' extension, has launched numeric domain names in two phases:

  • From October 22 2007 to March 26 2008, there is a 'soft' launch during which trademark owners may claim priority over other applicants. An auction will take place in the case of multiple applications and premium domain names (ie, those which are deemed by the registry to have a greater value than others).

  • From March 27 2008, all non-premium numeric domain name applications from the public will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The '.sg' registry has distinguished three categories of premium numbers, namely:

  • Platinum numbers - platinum domain names consist of one number only (eg, '1.sg'). Due to the exclusivity of platinum domain names (as there are only 10 of them), the minimum base bid is S$40,000 (approximately £13,630).

  • Golden numbers - this category covers two to 11-digit domain names which have no fixed form but an easily recognizable pattern (eg, '11.sg' and '1212.sg'). The minimum base bid for such domain names is S$1,000 (approximately £340).

  • Silver numbers - this category covers three to 11-digit domain names that have no fixed form but bear a certain pattern (eg, '11115.sg' and '121212121.sg'). Silver domain names are available from S$600 (approximately £204).

All other numbers registrable under the '.sg' extension are termed as ordinary numbers with a minimum base bid of S$200 (approximately £70).

Digital domain names are already available under certain ccTLDs, such as '.fr' (France), '.tv' (Tuvalu) and '.fm' (Federated States of Micronesia). In June 2007 Norway digitalized its '.no' extension (for further details please see "'1664.no' soon to be available for registration"). There appears to be a trend towards the extension of the scope of what can be registered as a domain name by bringing domain names back to what they really are: numbers.

David Taylor, Lovells LLP, Paris

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