The official registry for UK domain names, Nominet, has released a world map that displays the size of the countries according to the number of websites that use the two-letter domain code suffix. This helps us take a look at how the world would look if it was divided on the basis of the internet population of each country.
Let’s take an example. A lot of websites in the UK use the .uk internet domain code, while websites in Germany use .de. The suffix for Canada is .ca and for India is .in. However, most people in the US use the .com suffix, so the .us domain code is used very less. This is why the US appears very tiny on the new Nominet map.
The UK is the 78th largest country in the world by area and 21st by population, but when it comes to internet use, it is at the top of the list. You may however notice the massive island that is to the east of Australia and Asia. In case you don’t know, that’s the small South Pacific island of Tokelau with a population of 1,400 only. But Tokelau’s .tk domain code has got over 31 million domain registrations under it, thus crowning it as the largest country-code domain.
The reason why .tk is so popular because unlike other countries, domains under .tk can be registered for free. The required revenue is earned by advertising. Some reports even suggest that .tk domains make up for one-sixth of the GDP of Tokelau!
In a blog post on Nominet, Chief Executive Russel Haworth says:
While the USA and Tokelau show there are exceptions at each end of the scale, Nominet’s map of the online world does seem to indicate some links between the size of a country’s internet domain, rate of internet adoption, and economic strength.
Unfortunately, our map suggests that global inequality offline can often be mirrored by a lack of opportunity and representation in the online world.
The continent of Africa is home to more than one billion people, yet on our map it’s much, much smaller than it should be.