October 17, 2014
By Patrick Nixon
The Latin American diaspora in the US, Europe and elsewhere could be among the strongest backers of the new .lat Latin American domain suffix that became official on October 16, BNamericas was told.
These expats seek to retain their Hispanic identity, Anthony Harris, director of eCOM-LAC, the non-profit organization behind the initiative, said.
Harris said a conservative estimate is that there could be 30,000-50,000 .lat registrations in the first year and 80,000 in the first three years of its availability that is set for the end of January, after a 90-day trial. The executive believes that the diaspora could account for 30% of those figures.
"In the US and Europe you have huge Latino communities and while they are integrated in the countries where they live, and some were born there and are citizens of those countries, they still hang on to their roots," Harris said.
".lat is an identifier targeting the Latino community all over the world, not countries," he said.
"This gives them a chance to say 'hey I'm on the internet and part of this Latino community so instead of calling myself dot com I'm calling myself .lat'. We discussed this with relevant actors and found the response very positive," Harris said.
On October 16, the .lat top-level domain name was made official during the 51st summit of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Los Angeles, offering a Latin American alternative to the ubiquitous dot-com.
The .lat domain was conceived by Uruguay-based non-profit the Federation of Latin-America and the Caribbean for the Internet and Electronic Commerce (eCOM-LAC) and NIC Mexico, the organization in charge of the country code top level domain .mx.
The two bodies had fought for its existence for almost 10 years and invested US$185,000 in the idea and presented detailed documentation that was approved by ICANN in 2013.
The .lat domain will be sold for US$20-30 a year.