What Is .ai Domain And Should You Use It?

With the rise of artificial intelligence, an increasing number of AI startups are cropping up each day. Due to its abbreviation, Anguilla’s .ai domain became popular and generic in use. If you run an AI-based business, you should consider using this extension, but it’s not as straightforward of a decision as it seems. Read on to find out why.

What Does .ai Domain Mean?

The .ai domain is a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Anguilla, a 35-sq-mi batch of islands in the Caribbean that belongs to Great Britain.Due to the increasing prominence of artificial intelligence (AI), the .ai domain extension gradually became synonymous with AI-related industries. Today, it serves as a unique branding opportunity for businesses and organizations involved in the AI sector.

While we’re still at the beginning of AI development, many think AI models will make roles and entire departments redundant.

As you would expect, AI has also influenced the world of domains and domain names. With new AI startups popping up daily, the need for domain names that represent such businesses is on the rise.

Every domain name is built the same – it has a top-level domain (also known as a TLD or an extension) and a second-level domain, i.e., the unique part of the domain name that represents your business.

We use TLDs to determine domain types. They can be:

  • Generic TLDs (such as the common .com, .net, and .org domains),
  • Country-code TLDs (each country has its own extension to let people know of the website’s geographical location),
  • Internationalized country-code TLDs (for websites in non-Latin scripts),
  • Test TLDs (used for website testing and documentation).

Why Are .ai Domains So Popular?

The point of ccTLDs is to inform users about the location of a business whose website they’re visiting. You can use a ccTLD for geotargeting, i.e., targeting your site to a specific country. For example, if you want your website to reach customers from Germany, you should consider getting a .de domain.

Over time, some ccTLDs became popular due to their extensions matching abbreviations of certain industries or business phrases. For instance, Colombia’s domain (.co) has become synonymous with companies. Similarly, many companies and startups dealing with technology and SaaS use British Indian Ocean Territory’s .io domain.

It’d become obvious that the majority of domain owners are not associated with the countries these extensions represent, and Google started treating those ccTLDs as a global domain type, i.e., a generic ccTLD.

A recent addition to the gccTLD list is the .ai domain, as people associate these domains with AI and not Anguilla. In the last year alone, the number of registered .ai domains went up by an impressive 156%.

SEO and the .ai Domain

Technically speaking, using a .ai domain won’t benefit your SEO ranking. Google’s goal is to find and deliver the best possible content, and it doesn’t care if that content comes from a .com, .ai, or any other domain type. A .ai domain won’t automatically make you an authority within the AI space.

However, there are indirect benefits to your SEO ranking. Most users don’t even know that .ai stands for Anguilla. If they see your .ai domain, they’ll automatically assume you’re in the AI business, and you can build your trust that way, as presumably, you’ll know a thing or two about AI.

Many startups choose a domain name with .ai as a branding strategy. As people are increasingly interested in AI capabilities, they use “AI” as a keyword, and you can benefit from having that keyword in your name.

Many companies within the AI industry don’t opt for a .ai domain and still prefer .com. So does the creator of ChatGPT, OpenAI, which uses the most popular gTLD.

Still, a lot of companies have achieved success using .ai. For example, on Forbes’ list of 25 top machine-learning startups in 2020, over 40% of them have registered a .ai domain. They are as follows:

  • Postera.ai
  • OctoML.ai
  • Frame.ai
  • ThinkDeep.ai
  • Arturo.ai
  • MixMode.ai
  • Zest.ai
  • Luminovo.ai
  • Rosetta.ai
  • Paige.ai
  • Eightfold.ai

Apart from AI-based startups, large companies have also taken out a .ai domain to present their AI developments. You can now visit ai.google, facebook.ai, uber.ai, and many others.

MORE: How can AI improve management?

Why Are .ai Domains So Expensive?

Getting a .ai domain is expensive, especially when compared to regular gTLDs. For example, getting a .com domain would cost you between $9.99 and $19.99 a year. A .ai domain can cost up to $100 per year, and the minimum registration period is two years.

The reason for such a high price comes from the fact that it makes a domain instantly recognizable. When they see a .ai website, users immediately assume it’s about AI. Since there’s a high demand for these domains, it’s only natural that registrars have decided to make a profit.

MORE: How much does a domain name cost?

Are .ai Domains Worth it? 

The question is, is the price worth it? The answer is complicated – it all depends on how much you value your domain name. It’s easier to find a domain name that’s available with a .ai extension than .com. This can help you find a domain name that matches your business name.

MORE: Learn why you should trademark your domain name.

Pros and Cons of .ai Domain Names 

Getting a .ai domain name is a decision you need to make and weigh up benefits as well as potential drawbacks. Check out the table below to learn more:

Great for branding.More expensive.
Immediate association with the AI industry.Limited brand expansion into other industries (and technologies).
Can indirectly affect your SEO ranking.
Equal pricing for all (no premium domain names).

How to Get a .ai Domain 

The process for getting a .ai domain name is no different than the registration process for any other domain. You need to pick a domain name registrar of your choice and see if it offers .ai domains. If yes, you need to complete registration steps, which is not a complicated feat.

Check out our video to find out how to register a domain name in under 5 minutes:

Struggling to come up with a domain name that’s unique, memorable, and points clearly to the fact that you’re running an AI business? Use our AI-powered domain name generator for free and get 1,000+ catchy name ideas instantly.

Takeaway Points

Initially representing Anguilla, the .ai domain has now become synonymous with artificial intelligence and the AI industry. If you’re in the same business, you should consider getting a .ai domain to position yourself as an AI-based company. Using this domain lets users know exactly what your business is about upfront.

However, .ai domains are quite expensive, and there’s no telling you’ll be more successful with a .ai domain rather than a .com or .co. As such, registering a .ai domain can be a risky branding strategy, but it can pay off big time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Registering a .ai domain costs around $110-$120 per year, depending on the registrar you use. The registration and renewal periods are a minimum of two years.

In general, you’ll need to pay $9.99 to $19.99 per year to have a registered domain name with a generic TLD such as .com or .net. Since .ai domains cost $120+ a year, they are almost ten times more expensive than other generic TLDs.

Yes, you can transfer your domain name to a .ai one if it’s available for registration. There are no restrictions regarding .ai transfers, and the transfer process depends on your registrar. Learn how to transfer a domain name here.

No. As .ai domains work like any other domain, you can register as many as you want without any limitations. However, registering a .ai domain can be expensive, so you should consider how much money you’re willing to part with.

As with any domain, the time it takes to register a .ai domain depends on your registrar. Usually, it takes between 24 and 72 hours.

There are no restrictions in terms of what content you need to put on .ai domains. As such, you can use it for any kind of website. However, bear in mind that when users see a .ai domain, they expect to find AI-related content and services, and you may create a negative user experience if you don’t fulfill their expectations.

No. Security rules and policies are in place as with other popular domain extensions, and you can get protection from your registrar. While it’s possible to find malicious websites with a .ai domain, it’s generally considered a secure domain, especially given that it’s costly to register.

Technically, the government of Anguilla administers the use of .ai domains. However, all major registrars support .ai domains, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, Hostinger, and OnlyDomains.

Both .ai and .io domains first came into use as country-code domains for Anguilla and British Indian Ocean Territory, respectively. However, due to their abbreviations being popular in technology, they’ve lately become generic domains. Companies dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) use .ai domains. Similarly, many technological and SaaS businesses use .io domains as it reminds users of I/O (short for input/output).


Miloš Soro

Miloš Soro

Miloš Soro is a content writer dedicated to the technical side of running a business. He is our expert on domain names, eCommerce, and product development. Soro combines his six years of writing experience with an educational background in IT and is interested in the latest technology trends to provide his readers with the latest insights.

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