International domain names best for business expansion

HA NOI — Businesses should buy international domain names now if they planned to penetrate the world market to avoid costs later on, said Nguyen Tu Quang, general director of internet security company Bkav.

Statistics from the Viet Nam National Internet Centre (VNNIC) show that the number of domain names registered between 2004 and 2011 increased by 20. In addition, the centre has allowed businesses to register names for free, contributing to a sharp increase in the number of .vn domain names.

E-commerce was developing well due to its convenience and low cost, especially for new companies. The best way to advertise a trademark was to use an international .com domain name as it was easily recognisable around the world, Quang added.

Domain name disputes have increased with the development of e-commerce. Several businesses have had to spend billions of dong to buy domain names for their trademarks.

Demand for Vietnamese domain names has increased sharply in recent years as businesses have become aware of their value in terms of global expansion.

Domain name speculation developed before Vietnamese trademarks were positioned in global markets, and speculators have targeted well-known enterprises in developed sectors including banking, real estate telecommunications and technology.

Quang said his company had still benefited despite having to pay VND2 billion (US$95,300) to buy their bkav.vn domain name from a US company.

"It didn't occur to us to buy an international domain name 10 years ago, so we only bought bkav.com.vn which is Vietnamese," he added.

Several companies have spent billions of dong to purchase international domain names, saying they are vital for business expansion as they attract a significantly larger number of hits than the Vietnamese equivalents.

Owners of popular websites in Viet Nam including vozforums.com, diadiem.com and 5giay.com have difficulty proving their ownership because of hackers and advertising.

Several enterprises have also struggled to reclaim their registered domain names, leading to lengthy legal proceedings that cost time and money.

Some domain names in Viet Nam were taken even before the country gained access to the internet in 1997.

Domain name fpt.com was bought by speculators in 1995, viettel.com in 1997, mobifone.com in 1998, bkav.com in 2001, and viettien.com and vinaphone.com in 2003.

VNNIC figures show that Viet Nam has more than 18,000 registered .vn domain names, 20 per cent of which are business oriented.

Last year, the centre registered over 50,000 domain names, three times higher than in 2010. — VNS

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