Updates at the foot of the post.

Google and Microsoft have become some of the first companies to take advantage of the new Nigerian top level domain .ng, each securing domain names to protect their brands.

Google has secured the googli.ng top level domain and Microsoft has registered bi.ng, the latter almost certainly registered to serve as a URL shortener.

Back in December we brough you news of the first registered .ng domain: thisday.ng, where we suggested we could be on the verge of witnessing some new internet startup naming conventions and companies utilising the top level domain of the African country.

We noticed a tweet by Amit Argawal noting that Microsoft had registered the bi.ng domain, securing it on February 4. At the time of writing the domain does not resolve but is parked on Microsoft’s nameservers, so we assume that it’s just a matter of time until Microsoft either directs the domain to its search engine or starts to use the domain to roll out its own link shortening service, similar Google’s goo.gl URL shortener.

Screen shot 2011 02 08 at 07.38.29 Google and Microsoft Snap Up Googli.ng and Bi.ng Domains [Updated]

In December we suggested Google would register the googli.ng domain, we were not wrong. A quick WHOIS lookup provides information on the domain, showing that the search giant registered the Nigerian TLD at the end of January.

Currently, googli.ng does not resolve to a website but it is parked on the companies nameservers. With Google already operating its own URL shortener, the registration of the .ng domain looks to be a simple case of Google protecting its brand.

Screen shot 2011 02 08 at 07.41.08 Google and Microsoft Snap Up Googli.ng and Bi.ng Domains [Updated]

Both domains were registered by Nigerian registrar Websoft Ltd, each requiring the respective company to directly contact the registrar to register them. Unlike .com domains, companies wanting to register a .ng domain need to contact NIRA and are required to pay around ₦500,000 ($3,334) per year.

According to commenters in our original article, the NIRA are strict on domain squatters, taking the domain away from a registrant if it is determined that they are using the domain with the intention of selling it for a higher price to interested companies.

Facebook and Ning have yet to register Facebooki.ng or Ni.ng, do you think they will (or even should)?

Update: Websoft Ltd got in contact to tell us that the N500,000 figure we stated in the post isnt correct, it actually stands at N7.5million, which equates to roughly $50,000.

Eight .ng domains have been snapped up to date, most of which having been registered by Google:

  1. 3m.ng
  2. leadership.ng
  3. google.ng
  4. gmail.ng
  5. youtube.ng
  6. honeywell.ng
  7. googli.ng
  8. bi.ng