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Tiny state hits it big with Internet name; Internet name sale turns tiny Tuvalu into Cinderella By Lydia Zajc.

The world's smallest country, the south Pacific island of Tuvalu, hopes to undergo a Cinderella-like transformation from one of the globe's poorest nations to one of the wealthiest after hanging a "for sale" sign on its Internet name.

A privately held Canadian company, The TV Corporation, has begun to market Tuvalu's Internet domain name, the country code designation in World Wide Web addresses.

They are hoping major television companies, producers, television personalities might and others want to own a Web site address that has the cachet of the ".tv" ending.

Internet powers, specifically the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, granted Tuvalu the sign-off ".tv".

Domain names already broadly in use -- ".com" for firms or ".ca" for Canada -- are rapidly being snapped up to the point where companies and individuals are looking for alternatives to come up with unique or catchy Web site addresses.

The 9,000-odd inhabitants of the Polynesian microstate hope to eventually rank among the globe's richest people on a per capita basis because the bulk of the money earned from ".tv" will flow back to them.

Tuvaluan Prime Minister Bikenibeu Paeniu said: "We are delighted this agreement will improve not only the Tuvaluan standard of living but permit us to help other South Pacific nations." And Tuvaluans will still have as many .tv designations as they need, said 28-year-old Jason Chapnik, head of the Canadian company which has a staff of less than ten.

"We expect all of the major corporations to sign up," Chapnik said, including television, media, magazine, newspaper and film companies.

"We are absolutely overwhelmed by the interest," Chapnik said. "It's just been staggering, world-wide." Three years ago Chapnik began brainstorming with other Internet entrepreneurs and came up with the idea to approach Tuvalu and market its fortuitous d esignation. After weighing all potential partners, Tuvalu agreed.

Companies can now surf to www.internet.TV, and register a name with a $1,000 deposit. If rivals sign up for the same moniker, the firm will auction them off starting on Februrary 1, 1999.

Speculators who attempt a superfluous claim to a name such as nbc.tv, hoping to resell it for a higher price, will be blocked by Chapnik and his band in the interest of fairness.
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Title Annotation:Interactive
Author:Zajc, Lydia
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 10, 1998
Words:372
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