"The race is on to grab a .Asia domain name!"

The latest domain name suffix - .asia - has begun. DotAsia, the sponsoring organization and registry operator for the .asia domain name, opened up the so-called “landrush” yesterday. A total of 266,663 domain name applications were received on the first day within 24 hours.

Over 35% of the applications received came from Asia, with 40% from North America and 24% coming from Europe. A total of about 28,000 domain names received more than one application on the first day. The top 10 registrars in the first day, in order, are: Dotalliance Inc., EuroDNS S.A., Communigal Communications Ltd., GoDaddy.com, Gabia, HiChina Web Solutions Ltd., Key-Systems, NamesBeyond.com, DomainPeople Inc., eName Corp.

In an interview with Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames, a UK based domain name registrar, said that “Once it starts, there's far less protection for companies’ trademarks and its open season on the .asia domain name for cybersquatters, online speculators and competitors.” There is an active market in buying and selling domain names, with sales regularly exceeding US$200,000 and peak values reaching more than US$2million.

There are still plenty of domain names up for grabs, including famous ones such as durex.asia, burgerking.asia, skype.asia and webcamsex.asia.

The auction is expected to close on March 12, 2008.

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