'To .BE or not to .BE' - ccTLD of Belgium
It has been a while since our last post. This time, something on .BE, the official ccTLD of Belgium, operated by DNS.BE.
Brief History of .BE:
- The first .BE Domain was registered in 1989
- Until 1994, only 129 names had been registered
- In February of 1999, the non-profit association, DNS Belgium was formed (articles of association) to assume operational responsibility for the .BE registry. The actual transfer took place on January 1, 2000
- Initially registering a .BE domain was extremely restrictive, only organizations could register .BE domains and the name had to correspond to a company name, trademark or well known brand.
- In June 2000, the board of .BE decided to open up the registry to anyone worldwide, which officially took place Dec. 11, 2000.
- The effect of opening up the registry produced tremendous results. Prior to the liberalization, DNS.BE managed only 40,000 domains. After only 3 weeks of opening up, registrations jumped to 89,718, more than double, and by the end of March the registry was managing nearly 125,000 domains.
- On July 1, 2001, the registry dramatically reduced the price for registrars (Agents) down to 10.00 EUR per domain from 25.00 EUR. A year later the price was brought down further to 6.00 EUR per domain.
- On October 15, 2001, DNS.BE permitted transfers, thus allowing .BE domains to be traded freely.
- Today, DNS.BE manages nearly 1 Mill. domains (947,070 Domains - reported as of Sept. 20, 2009)
Though the chart above gives the indication that the registry has reached maturity, the ups and downs are likely attributable to various promotions. Some such promotions lowered the price a lot increasing the registration numbers, but my suspicion is that in the end, this just lead to poor renewal rates; thus, the fluctuating registrations.
If I recall correctly from one of numerous .BE Registrar Meetings I have attended in the past, then companies dominate the registrant user base for .BE mainly due to past registry policy. Over 80% of all registrations are from businesses and only 20% are from individuals. It would be extremely interesting to see the results of a whois-scan to see the latest makeup of organizations vs. individuals.
Registration Rules and Facts:
- .BE Domains can be registered for 1 Year
- Registration System is real-time
- Min./Max. Characters: 3 and 63
- Numbers (digits) are permitted
- Hyphens ("-") are permitted, however not at the beginning or directly in front of the TLD
Trade Feature of .BE:
Unlike gTLDs, .BE Domains require a special command be sent to the registry for change of ownership, called a TRADE. A TRADE is like a classic domain transfer - registrar however remains the same - , meaning upon successfully processing of a TRADE, the registrant information is changed and the registration period starts from new. The registry charges an annual fee for this feature and registrars naturally bill for this on their end. This same feature is also used within dot EU, which is basically a mirror of the DNS.BE System. This "TRADE" feature is unique to .BE and .EU. I am sure many registrars worldwide would prefer to see .BE and .EU get rid of this feature and give the registrars more control over their customers.
HEXONET offers .BE Domains at very affordable prices. In the event you are interested in registering large volumes of .BE Domains, please reach out to the Sales Department at HEXONET at firstname.lastname@example.org for negotiated pricing.