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Status: Active
country: Tuvalu
Manager: .tv Corporation International
Registry Provider: Verisign
Date Implemented: 1996
Type: open ccTLD
Community: No

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.tv is the country code top level domain name (ccTLD) assigned to the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu under the ISO-3166 list. The ccTLD is currently operated by .tv Corporation International, a subsidiary of Verisign. It is marketed as an open ccTLD since it has open registration outside of Tuvalu and is marketed around the common abbreviation for "television". Entities involved in animation, film and television, and bloggers and websites that feature video content are the primary users of the .tv ccTLD.[1] Other open ccTLDs include Colombia's .co and Montenegro's .me.


In 1998, the government of Tuvalu received proposals from Jason Chapnic, a Canadian entrepreneur and president of Information.ca and Antony Van Couvering, former president of NetNames and current CEO of Minds + Machines, to open registration for .tv and make it significantly more profitable. The Tuvalu government accepted Mr. Chapnic's proposal. At first, the price for .tv domain names was set at $1,000 per year and $500 for renewals. However, Mr. Chapnic failed to deliver the $50 million upfront payment he promised to the Tuvalu government. In 1999, the Tuvalu government agreed to license the .tv ccTLD to Idealab, a capital investment firm based in California that was brought in by Chapnic. Under the license agreement, Idealab (.tv Corporation International) agreed to pay $1 million per quarter adjustable for inflation to the Tuvalu government with a $50 million cap within 12 and a half years and 20 percent equity in the company.[2]

On December 31, 2001, Verisign acquired .tv Corporation International. Under the purchase transaction, Verisign paid $45 million in cash plus $1 million contribution on the first quarter of 2001. Verisign was also to pay around $7-10 million in deferred revenue. .tv Corporation International was to continue to serve as the country manager/delegee for the government of Tuvalu for .tv.[3] The country of Tuvalu earned $10 million in the transaction. Verisign entered a new license contract with the Tuvalu government for 15 years and agreed to pay the government $2.2 million per year plus 5 percent on all revenue on top of $20 million sales per year until the expiration of the contract on December 31, 2016. Verisign offered registrations for .tv domain names for $50, with a minimum of a two year contract. [4]

In 2006, Verisign partnered with Demand Media to market the .tv domain space as the best choice rich media websites.[5]

In July, 2010, Tuvalu Finance Minister Lotoala Metia said that his government was dissatisfied with its contract with Verisign. In an interview with Radio New Zealand International, the Finance Minister said, "We are negotiating but we are tied because of the agreement that was signed before us. We cannot negotiate for an increase until 2016. Counter offers have been made but they are not acceptable to the government of the day. So we have to stick to our guns now. They’re giving us peanuts."[6] Verisign offered to pay an additional $1 million per year to Tuvalu with a condition that it will continue to serve as the registry operator of the domain name. Tuvalu turned down the offer.[7]

In February, 2012, Verisign renewed its contract to manage the .tv registry with Tuvalu until December 31, 2021. Neither party provided any details about the terms of the agreement.[8]

Premium .tv Domain Names

Kuwaiti businessman Thunayan K AL-Ghanim paid $65,000 for Travel.tv and $35,000 for mail.tv. Idealabs sold free.tv, china.tv, and net.tv for $100,000 each in 2000.[9]

In 2010, premiun .tv domain names were also sold in auction by Sedo. The domain names included:

  • business.tv ($100,999)
  • learn.tv ($41,000)
  • christmas.tv ($32,000)
  • home.tv ($31,000)
  • guide.tv ($29,500)
  • job.tv ($25,500)
  • jobs.tv ($25,000)
  • sports.tv ($54,000)

The domain name emmy.tv was registered to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for free. In exchange, the .tv ccTLD was promoted during the live telecast of the 2000 Emmy Awards.

Malicious Use of .tv

Prior to the airing of the 2012 Super Bowl, the United States authorities, led by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, launched the “Super Bowl Crackdown" against websites providing links to unauthorized sports streams. The authorities seized Firstrowsports.tv, Firstrowsports.com, Firstrowsports.net and Soccertvlive.net in violation of the Criminal Infringement of a Copyright Law.[10] This was the first time that sites on the .tv extension were seized; this was possible because Verisign is based in the USA and thus the sites are subject to U.S. laws as opposed to the sovereign laws of Tuvalu.[11]

In a separate incident, researchers from Zscaler, a cloud security provider found out that numerous .co.tv domain names used a black hat SEO optimized news article about the departure of Laurence Fishburne from the CSI tv series to redirect users to malware distribution sites that target java vulnerabilities. According to Zscaler senior researcher Umesh Wanve, "The exploit code downloads multiple malicious JAR files on the system after exploitation. The VirusTotal results remains very poor for one of the malicious JAR files, with only 2 out of 43 Antivirus triggering on it." [12] There was similar problems with many .co.tv names, and the TLD was not an official hierarchy, but a single domain whose owners offered free registration for subdomains. Google started filtering its results to block all .co.tv results.[13][14]