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Anguilla's AI Cash Cow

When many people think of the Caribbean island Anguilla, their minds might typically jump to its beautiful white sand beaches, clear waters, or local food, rather than… AI.


A beach on Anguilla

Last year, however, the 16-mile-long British overseas territory bagged a whopping $32 million from web developers looking to cash in on the artificial intelligence boom by registering their sites to Anguilla’s now-lucrative “.ai” domain - a trend that accounted for more than 10 percent of the nation’s GDP, according to the New York Times.


This is all thanks to an obscure 1974 set of postal standards allotted each country a URL suffix (like .com), and Anguilla's great piece of luck in being allotted .ai.


Of all the top-level domains (TLDs to the website builders amongst us), “.com”, has long reigned supreme, reportedly taking a 46 percent market share of internet addresses as of December ‘23.


Despite dot-com’s influence on our economy and internet culture, a flurry of online entrepreneurs have turned elsewhere in recent years. Indeed, Google searches for “ai domain” overtook “.com domain” for the first time ever in June last year, with Anguilla’s government collecting between $140 and multiple thousands each time its TLD is used in a website name bought at auction.


Meanwhile, in the South Pacific, tiny island nation Tuvalu (with its 11,000 residents) is estimated to me making $10 million per year from its .tv domain - a whopping one-sixth of its GDP. That revenue has allowed Tuvalu to pave its roads, expand electricity access for its residents, and even pay its first annual United Nations membership in 2000.

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