Taiwan’s domain-name market remains underdeveloped because most companies see little value in investing in domain names that can help market their products, a local market researcher said yesterday.
The government should play a role in promoting Taiwan’s domain-name market, which could attract more firms to provide online services and thus boost local server and telecom equipment businesses, the National Information Infrastructure Enterprise Promotion Association (NII) said.
“Taiwan should catch up in the maturing domain-name market because its potential market size is considerable,” NII chief executive officer Wu Kuo-wei (吳國維) told a forum.
Citing studies conducted by the association, Wu said the nation’s total addressable domain-name market is estimated to be US$39.75 million, which is about 1 percent of the global market.
However, since the Taiwan Network Information Center started operating in 1999, only about 600,000 applications were filed from Taiwanese companies or government agencies to the nonprofit institution for domain names, he added.
Because each individual, company or government agency only pays the center a domain-name application fee of NT$800 (US$26.37) — less than the average of US$15 in the global market — Taiwan’s domain-name market has expanded to NT$480 million in market value, “a size that is just too small,” Wu said.
“The issue [that the country’s domain-name market is underdeveloped] should be discussed, but the problem is that no government official is willing to take the responsibility,” Wu said.
Wu said the domain-name market, if well-developed, can help drive the country’s economy, because companies having bid for their favorite domain names tend to offer online services to avoid their Web space from being wasted, which require Web-hosting service providers to set up servers or even data centers for the operation of each Web site.
Those online services vary from e-mail services and ad-posting services to providing an e-commerce marketplace, Wu said.
An easy-to-remember domain name can also help increase people’s awareness of a company’s brandnames, as well as their products, he added.
“The government cannot demand that companies register for domain names so it can make money, but it should certainly propose solutions to promote the market,” said an official from the National Communications Commission who declined to be named.
The commission official’s statement referred to companies that bid for specific domain names with an eye to selling them at a profit based on speculation that the names’ market values would soar because of qualities such as uniqueness and simplicity.
“The problem lies in the fact that the country’s Internet infrastructure is not advanced enough,” National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development professor Liu Ching-yi (劉靜怡) said regarding the nation’s underdeveloped domain-name market.
“Finally, we see some telecom operators have begun installing networking equipment for 4G services,” Liu said.
“However, if the macro-environment [wireless Internet access speed] remains slow, who would be interested in bidding for domain names?” he said.