$1.6m later Quebec decides .quebec too expensive

In this recent article the Quebec government decided that it would be too expensive to justify continuing with switching provincial government websites over to the new .quebec registry.  For the uninitiated, there is a massive change happening as I write this as to the types of web domains that can be used.

We are generally used to web sites ending in .com, .org, .info or possibly in a country designation such as .ca for Canada.  Now many business have been creative in coming up with new ways of using those limited possibilities such as the country code for the island state of Tuvalu’s .tv for television shows.  But let’s face it, it is becoming very hard to find a good web site domain for a cheap price and just like we get new areas codes for phone numbers when we run out there are new domain names coming available.

Many years ago people began asking why we couldn’t use other letters or words at the end of a domain name instead of the usual one?  Well those people questions have been answered and the new domain names are rolling out now.  New website can be registered using different languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian or Arabic.  There are also hundreds of new domains coming online right now.   A few examples of the more popular ones at the moment are for web sites ending in .xyz, .berlin, .club,  .realtor and the Chinese version of ‘web’, .wang.

All of which brings us back to Quebec.  Each one of those hundreds of new web domains is operated by an distinct company or oversight body (though many companies are trying to run multiple new domains) and that oversight body must set up and manage the terms and conditions of use for the new domain which like any new product includes marketing the product to buyers.  In spite of any discounts that may have been applied for such a large player as the provincial government, the cost of switching the provinces online service to the new registry was determined to be at least another $12million.  Ultimately the Quebec government decided that was too much public money for what in some regards is simply a branding strategy. 

Did Quebec make a good decision?  Well with slightly over 1 million .ca websites registered since it started being marketed privately, it does seem hard to think that a .quebec domain name could ever generate enough continuous registrations to be profitable in the next 15 years or so to have the backing of the provincial government could have added much needed support to PointQuebec but there is nothing stopping the province from participating in the migration on a slower basis.  In the interim .quebec domains are now available for a under $40/year for those of you interested in that market.