Domains are very cheap to purchase. For roughly $10 a year you can have your very own domain. However, even at that low price some people are unable to purchase domains or the domains they want to purchase aren’t available. Enter Mali and its .ML domain.
Like all countries, Mali — a poverty-filled nation in Africa — has its own ccTLD (country code top-level domain) .ML. With the exception of .TK domains (ccTLD for the country Tokelau), all domains for ccTLDs for other countries must be purchased for an annual fee. Mali plans on rebuking that trend by offering .ML domains for free to everyone and anyone.
It isn’t entirely clear how people will be able to register domains but we do know the timeline. Starting on May 1, 2013 and going until May 31, 2013 is the “sunrise” period, the time where trademark owners can claim ownership to their trademarked names on .ML. After that is the “landrush” period that goes until July 14, 2013, the time period where premium and generic .ML domains will be released (for $9.95/year each, since they are premium and generic names). Come July 15, 2013, everyone will be able to register a .ML domain at no charge.
According to the FAQ on .ML domains homepage, users will have full access to .ML domains; that includes redirection capabilities and the ability to modify DNS settings. This means you can use .ML for websites, emails, or simply to point to your Facebook.
That said, it isn’t entirely clear if .ML domains will be free without restrictions or free with restrictions. For example, you can get a .TK domain for free but you don’t technically own a .TK domain; Dot TK Limited owns all free .TK domains and gives you the right to use them. Also, you must get 25 unique hits on your free .TK domain every month to keep it active. We know that Freedom Registry, the company behind free .TK domains, is running .ML domains so it is a good bet to expect the same treatment for .ML domains.
So… who is going to jump on this? Personally speaking, I’d stay away if you plan on doing anything worthwhile — you never know when Mali may revoke access for whatever reason. Trust me when I say this: if you plan on building a business, a website, a blog, etc. then go with safe .COM/.NET/.ORG/.INFO/etc. If you just want to play around with a website or domains, then there is no reason to not give .ML a try.
[via Freedom Registry]