With the breakup of Yugoslavia, various member states fared better than others. At the bottom of the list would probably be Bosnia who unfortunately inherited the front lines of a war between the power hungry assholery of Milošević and Tuđman. After them comes Macedonia which mostly seems to have inherited a name conflict with Greece. It gets harder after that. Croatia got amazing coastline for a ready made tourism industry in the postwar economy, but they were also somewhat shunned by the west due to barbaric actions in the war. Serbia didn’t get the coastline, got the same shunning as Croatia and then some, but they also inherited all of the built-up institutions of former Yugoslavia such as the seat on the UN. Slovenia came out quite well, despite a touristic coast, as the West loved them as seen by their amazingly quick admission to the EU, EuroZone, and now even Schengen.
The one odd apple in all this group is Montenegro. Until this year, they were just kind of puttering along, doing their own thing. Sure, they had coastline, but it’s somewhat polluted and being devoured by Russians at the moment. In fact, they were really low on my list of successful post-Yugo states until the most amazing thing happened. As I mentioned earlier, funny things were a foot when it came to the domain extension of Yugoslavia which went from .yu to .cs for Crna Gora (Montenegro) Serbia, and then, once Montenegro voted for independence in 2006, the name was split again to .rs for Serbia and .me for Montenegro.
What a windfall for this tiny nation of 600,000 people. The combinations are endless. Everyone who ever wanted www.fuck.me or www.la.me could have their dreams come through. Perverts who may have been desiring www.co.me are out of luck though as they’ve reserved that for country use, much the same way are co.uk exists in the United Kingdom.
I took a little trip down new domain registration land myself. I decided to take on registering www.taste.me as I thought it would have multiple uses from culinary to perverse. Unfortunately a lot other folks felt the same way which led me down an interesting path with how they are coordinating the deployment of these names.
Montenegro made a very smart initial move in that they didn’t handle selling the domain names themselves. They bid out the rights to that. There’s nothing new in this as most countries do this. So, when you’re buying a .me name, you’re not actually buying from Montenegro, but from some re-seller in your country. I ended up trying GoDaddy for the first (and last) time. I searched around for a name that seemed to be available, which was taste.me, filled out the forms, submitted the credit card info and thought that I was the proud owner of this name. Oh how I was wrong.
First off, it turns out that GoDaddy had some problem with me. I registered this name while in Europe and for some reason they came to the conclusion that I was a fraudulent registrar. Given that assumption, they froze my account, locked me out, and sent me a single email that had no information but to contact them. I tried to contact them and the monkeys on the phone didn’t seem able to do anything or tell me why I was locked out. They eventually refunded my money and I gave up on my dreams of owning taste.me.
It turns out that this was all for the better as paying that initial $100 for the name was not actually buying it. It was reserving a place in line to be able to bid in a domain auction further on. All of this is not readily apparent and with good reason. I doubt most folks would be $100 for the right to then bid on something as small and silly as a domain name. Let me also emphasize that it was $100 for each .me name you wished to chase down.
Oddly enough, I continued to receive updates about the auction for taste.me. This was interesting to follow because unlike a normal auction where there is a set time frame, the way this auction worked was that once someone submitted a bit, if there was a new bid submitted within 24 hours, the auction would continue. It basically just encourages people to bid like crazy to own the domains. In the case of taste.me, the auction went on for about two weeks and ended up at a final price of $6,505. Crazy, huh?
In theory, a large percentage of money from the sale of domain names if going back in to the country. It had better as it’s apparent that Montenegrin’s aren’t buying .me. It’s also about $20 now to register a name since this asinine auction system has ended and it’s business as usual. There does seem to be some black box business going on with the registration still. If you try to register something like asdasjj90.me, you can. But if you try to register something like theearthiswaitingfor.me it will most likely tell you it’s already been bought, but you’ll get the offer to bid on it. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it definitely seems shifty and I hope that it’s not just a few entrenched Montenegrin politicians making off like bandits on this.