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I've noticed a number of new webapps and sites are being hosted at .io domains (the top-level domain for the British Indian Ocean Territories). A couple examples include:

  • Forecast.io
  • GitHub.io
  • Firepad.io

And the list goes on and on.

Is there any particular cause for the sudden popularity of .io domains?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. They're available…
  2. …probably because they're significantly more expensive(from any registrar I've ever seen) than the usual TLDs…
  3. …and somewhat desirable to techs because of a cheap I/O joke.

The usage itself among web/tech people isn't terribly new. There were several bloggers who started using the TLD years ago that I can't remember at the moment. Over time, it just seems to have slowly built an association with those sorts of people and their output/products. You have to remember that it's gotten really hard to find a decent short domain with .com et al, and very few alternative TLDs like .ws have ever gained much traction, so there's a bit of community convergence going on here, stemming in part from that shared joke.

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I understand I/O is for Input/Output but what is the joke? –  User Nov 8 '13 at 17:45
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I guess it's just because most people would not relate .io TLDs to British Indian Ocan Territories, but with input/output or whatever abbreviation seems reasonable for the specific domain.

The same thing is happening with .tv TLDs, which is for the island of Tuvalu normally, but is more commonly interpreted by people as an abbreviation for "television".

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Actually, the .tv TLD is specifically being marketed(though not restricted) as such by VeriSign, who have a contract with Tuvalu. The country's so small they wouldn't derive much value from being strict about it anyway. They also did something similar with their phone area code. –  Su' Apr 9 '13 at 21:49
    
Well, I didn't know about that specific detail, but I did know that indeed Tuvalu approves and gains from this arrangement. I also just read that GoDaddy recommends not to to buy Tuvalu domains because the island is sinking! –  alxs Apr 9 '13 at 21:57
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