AI high: The island of Anguilla is riding the AI wave

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The dot-ai bubble

Countless people have benefitted from the AI boom, whether that’s been students struggling to hit the word count on a recent essay, tech journalists trying to fill out column inches, or chief executives attempting to impress investors on earnings calls.

However, perhaps one of the more unexpected beneficiaries of the artificial intelligence hype is Anguilla, a small British territory in the Caribbean. The island, which has an estimated population of ~16,000 people, now makes around $3 million per month from .ai — its unique internet domain suffix.

Domain demand

Companies paying to register their websites with domain suffixes that are, in theory, linked with nations where they don’t operate is hardly a new phenomenon. In 2011, for example, Colombia was already receiving 25% of the revenue from sales of the .co suffix: a cheaper (and shorter) alternative to the more common .com address that we ourselves at eschewed for aesthetic, and maybe some financial, reasons 4 years ago.

Indeed, as is to be expected with anything vaguely linked to artificial intelligence, registrations for .ai names have accelerated at an almost unparalleled rate — up 156% in May 2023 from a year earlier, compared to a paltry 27% increase for boring old .com domains. Searches on Google, which conveniently celebrates its 25th birthday today, also show .ai racing ahead of the competition, with more and more people looking to get those 2 headline-snatching vowels at the end of their website address.

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