Spotlight on the .PT ccTLD
.PT Now Open to Everyone
The Internet country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Portugal is .PT and on May 1, 2012, the registry operator of .PT, Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (FCCN), introduced a significant and welcome change to the ccTLD. Anyone in the world can now register a .PT domain. Also, registrants are no longer required to be associated with a brand or a company.
The .PT domain is the most recent European ccTLD to liberalize (open up), making today an excellent time to take advantage of available domain names. In fact, just over the last week alone, HEXONET has extremely high demand for .PT domains. With currently 451,000 .PT domains registered, the registry is expected to grow significantly due to its open registration policy.
Understanding .PT with João Mesquita
In order to gain further insight into the .PT ccTLD and the effect of the recent changes, HEXONET was lucky enough to speak to a prominent blogger and domainer based in Portugal, Mr. João Mesquita. First and foremost, HEXONET would like thank Mr. Mesquita for taking the time to share his thoughts on .PT.
HEXONET Q1: Can you please let our readers know about your background and how you got involved as a blogger and domainer?
First, let me thank HEXONET for the invitation. It is my pleasure to answer your questions.
I was introduced to the domaining world by a friend that told me about this thing called 'domains', back in 2001. Since that day, I fell in the love with the concept. Though I wanted to be a domainer, unfortunately, certain circumstances in my life prevented me from domaining for some time. However, I never forgot about it and domaining was always in the back of my mind.
I spent some time in the army (which was mandatory) and also studied marketing, which lead to opening an online shop. Running an online shop taught me some lessons, as the market wasn't prepared at the time and moreover, I didn't quite realize the time I would need to wait for the market to become mature. It was not a successful journey. However, I learned some lessons that were priceless.
After my online business, I ventured into real estate which I did in parallel with domaining. And now today, I am starting to dedicate more time to what I love the most - domains.
My blogger side has been helped by a great Portugese blogger named Ana Martelo, who provides me with the right tools. Blogging for me, helps me achieve an important goal, which is to educate people about domaining. This idea came to my attention through seeing many people using and learning the Internet through Facebook or seeing them try to make money online, without knowing anything about domaining or knowing how domains may help them. Since that day, I have been writing week after week about domaining. I write in layman's terms and not in a language that requires one to be a webmaster or an Internet expert.
HEXONET Q2: How active is the domainer market in Portugal?
Portugal has a strong web development community and I think that is the main driver for the country. We tend to dedicate tons of time developing a domain and not just trading domains. This is the main factor that I think will be responsible for an increase in the number of domainers in the near future in Portugal. The market is very active from the perspective of buying domains to develop them rather than to simply sell them. In addition, that fact that the Portuguese economy is in bad shape at the moment leads to domain holders taking more initiative and attempting to widen their audience. I believe that the domaining market in Portugal is on the right track. Also, with the new generation embracing entrepreneurship, as well as, recent .PT liberalization, this will make .PT bigger and stronger.
HEXONET Q3: Among the top 10 sites most visited in Portugal, it looks like 4 are using the .PT extension. What are the most predominant domain extensions used in Portugal and do you see .PT overtaking .COM in the future?
The most predominant extensions used in Portgal are.com, .net, .pt and .com.pt. These other extensions were used, in some cases, due to the restrictions of getting a .PT domain. I think that .com will be the king extension for at least the next 15-20 years. Despite the fact that there is a local trend to think local, history has shown for many other ccTLDs that a .com always remains the better option. Owning both extensions is perfect. The only difference now is the fact that now we can add a .PT to the equation. This was something that was not possible until now, at least in the form of an open registration process.
HEXONET Q4: How do you view the recent liberalization of .PT? What trends and opportunities lie ahead?
The liberalization of the .PT extension became an open door for many people to get a share of the Internet for the first time. In fact, many people finally got the chance to obtain premium domains at a 15 euros per domain price point. May 1st was a crazy one for the community with over 15,000 registrations in just 8 hours. Keeping in mind that Portugal is a small country, these registration numbers are excellent.
FCCN is also trying their best to maintain a certain level of protection on domain registrations that may infringe the registration rules. For example, if you try to register goggle.pt, the chances are that your registration will fail. Although this might be a limitation, it is a positive measure for maintaining a clean .PT space from misleading domains. But not to worry... if you register a generic keyword, FCCN will likely not interfere with the process.
The trends in the .PT extension will mostly likely rely on tourism, drop-shipping services, virtual shops, e-commerce development, domain registration and social e-commerce in my opinion. Tourism because Portugal is known as a major tourism destination. It makes sense that things will expand from brick and mortar businesses to virtual ones. This is something that we are already able to offer - different languages to many different countries.
Drop-shipping because there are many people willing to open their own businesses, especially in areas of knowledge they already possess which require a low capital investment (mainly used for marketing). Also, a drop-shipping type business enables them to really focus on their overall business strategy without having to make significant investments in inventory. This means a great opportunity to offer drop-shipping partnerships.
Virtual shop development is seeing an increase as businesses are using the Internet to complement their physical businesses - generating more profits with lower overhead. People are starting to realize that virtual and physical realities should work together. In addition, social e-commerce through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks are being used as test drives for developing a real online presence. I believe there is space for more social e-commerce projects and that many will be developed using the .PT extension.
Now that .PT is a major trend, innovative ideas, sites and domains are sure to follow!