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Webmaster Questions and Answers

Question: What does the domain name .ws really stand for?

Answer: The promoters of .ws domain names want you to believe that it stands for Web Site. Yet those who have followed the history of .ws have a different story to relate.

.ws was originally the official domain for the country Western Samoa. Seeing the potential of the .ws domain name, two entrepreneurs - Alan Ezeir and Michael Reed -- decided to embark upon a mission to secure the distribution rights of .ws. They met with the leaders of Samoa and were able to reach a deal that would allow their new company - - to assign .ws domains and give Samoa a percentage of each sale.

The key to their mission was in taking a domain that stood for Western Samoa and convincing the public that it now stood for World Site. They marketed it as a better alternative to .com - your own World Site. People could register a domain ranging in price from $35 a year to $2,500 a year (for a two letter domain like

But World Site apparently didn't attract as much hype as the team was hoping for as they have recently started a new marketing campaign saying that .ws now stands for Web Site. So it's no longer Western Samoa or World Site, but rather Web Site. Who knows what it may be in a few more months.

The founders of (now known as are not the only ones who coaxed other countries out of their domains. Two other popular examples or .tv (originally belonged to Tuvalu) which is being marketed as "television" domains and .md (originally belonged to Moldova), which is being marketed as domains for medical sites.

Joe Tracy

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