Freenom, registry operator for .tk (Tokelau), .ga (Gabon), .cf (Central African Republic) and .ml (Mali), most of whose domains are provided for free with some having reputations of being some of the spammiest TLDs, has announced it has been successful in raising $3 million to expand its AnyCast cloud network and to develop commercial initiatives combining ccTLDs with local communities.
“Our current partners are very committed to the free domain name idea and industry,” said Joost Zuurbier, CEO & Founder of Freenom. “We are pleased to work with KIMA and the other members of this investment group to accelerate our growth and to expand our technology and presence online.”
Combined the ccTLDs have over 20 million registrations, with .tk leading the way to be the worldâs largest ccTLD. Free domain names are, according to Freenom, not required to run advertisements on their websites, and can be renewed at no cost.
China and Brazil are amongst the largest user groups of free domains. But also in the local partner countries, like Gabon and Mali, free domains have become very popular.
“The free domain name model radically changes the w ay a top level domain registry operates. We help partner countries to transform paid domain systems and processes into a new platform where domains are free and can be registered by everyone, locally and abroad.” Zuurbier continues. “We try to build truly win – win relationships with our partner countries. As a result we’ve seen a huge increase of local website building and technology usage locally, while providing the countries an additional income stream and promotional exposure. KIMA’s investment allows us to rapidly expand this platform, to reach out to additional countries and to invest in new partner relationships.”
Revenue is generated by monetising the expired domain names. Domains that are no longer used by the registrant or are expired are taken back by Freenom and the residual traffic is sold to advertisement networks. Next to this primary source of income, additional revenue will be generated by offering digital white labelled services, such as hosting packages, SSL certificates and others, to free domain name users. These new services will be available from January 2014 onwards.