There is No,,, Why Not?

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Google’s acquisition of the one character domain for China, reminded me of the old question about one and also two character domain names in the gTLD (generic top level domain) space like .com, .net and .org.

Who has domains that are only one or two characters long and how did they get them and why are they rarely in use? All one and two character domain names considering only of English language letters and numbers sum up to 1,332 possible domain names for every TLD, that are almost 4,000 domain names for .com, .org and .net alone.

That is quite a big number and I am surprised that you do not encounter them very often. Well, I decided this time to get an answer to my questions and what I found was rather interesting IMO.

There are actually 6 single character domains in existence for the three mentioned gTLDs. Those were registered before 12/1/1993, when IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) registered all remaining single character SLDs for the TLDs .com, .net and .org and thus made them unavailable for anybody else to register.

Today, Two of the domains are redirected to another website, two don’t resolve at all and the last two contain actual websites.

Original 1993 Registrant: iNet solutions Ltd.
Current Owner: Future Media Architects
Website today: none, does not resolve to anything at this time

Original 1993 Registrant: JG
Current Owner: Quest Communications
Website today: redirects to

Original 1993 Registrant: Q Net
Current Owner: Q Networks
Website today: none, does not resolve to anything at this time

Original 1993 Registrant: Weinstein & DePaolis
Current Owner: PayPal
Website today: is the PayPal Labs website to show experimental products by PayPal.

Original 1993 Registrant: The Open Group
Current Owner: The Open Group
Website today: X.Org Foundation, open source implementation of the X Window System

Original 1993 Registrant:
Current Owner: Nissan
Website today: redirects to

But what is up with two character domains? I know is owned and used by American Airlines and is a Yahoo! Powered search engine and I already have to think very hard to come up with additional sites. Considering that there are about 4,000 available, I should not have this problem already.

The answer to that question can be found at the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) proposed unsponsored TLD agreement from 26 February 2001, Appendix K “Registration Restrictions Within Registry TLD“. Quote:

“All two-character labels shall be initially reserved. The reservation of a two-character label string shall be released to the extent that the Registry Operator reaches agreement with the government and country-code manager, or the ISO 3166 maintenance agency, whichever appropriate. The Registry Operator may also propose release of these reservations based on its implementation of measures to avoid confusion with the corresponding country codes.”

Okay, that makes sense. It is interesting to know that exceptions can be made, not only on the ccTLD (country code top level domain) level as in Google’s case for their .CN domain, but gTLD level as well. The question is what does it take to be considered as registrant for the domain for example?

Maybe if Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft would join forces, they might be able to convince ICANN that IANA should assign to Google, to Yahoo! and (or to Microsoft/


Carsten Cumbrowski

p.s. I started a “domainers glossary” as a result of this research, which might be interesting as well. I already had before created some resource pages for domainers and domain traffic monetization that might also be worth to look at, including a DNS Glossary.

Carsten Cumbrowski
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over... Read Full Bio
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  • Joseph

    The Feb. 26, ’01 ICANN restriction on 2 character gTLD domains only applied to new gTLD’s, not to .com .net and .org as those TLD’s already always allowed 2 letter registrations, and many were already registered (besides and

  • CarstenCumbrowski

    yep, like with the single character domains, the ones that were already registered remained valid and supported since the beginning. They never revoked any legitimate registrations ever.

  • Joseph

    I don’t think there is ANY 2 letter .com that is NOT registered. I just whois’d a few and they are all registered to domain owners.

  • brk

    I never really understood the hype over the 1 or 2 (or even 3) letter sld’s. I was the original registrant of, but let it go a long time ago. I remember when a friend worked for when it stood for First Virtual (Bank). But so many people get to where they’re going from bookmarks and search engine queries that I’m not really sure a “tiny” domain has any real value. I’m sure there are plenty of web and marketing geeks slobbering over getting some trite SLD, but do you think the average user would really care about vs. Are the other 5 letters THAT hard to remember and type?

    Just for the record, I’m not in favor of absurdly long names. Too much chance for typos and frustration, but anything less than about 10 characters is (IMO) all the same.

  • CarstenCumbrowski

    I had the domain at my fingertips and while I was thinking about it did somebody else register it (the price tag was a bit high for me back then to just do it, especially for a potential hobby site only and not a commercial website).

    I find short domain names practical. I use the shortcut feature of to be able to use short words or abbreviations to go to some sites, e.g. “fb” for my homepage at or “video” to go to My homepage.

    All by different entities? How many sites are actually up? I did not say that all 2 character domains were blocked as in the single character ones, they are however restricted, because of the potential confusion with ccTLDs . There are over 240 ccTLDs so many are already ruled out by default.

  • g1smd

    What about and so on?

    They aren’t registered to be a website on their own, but to be a domain level for further breakdown.

  • David Goldstein

    One 2 letter domain in use is for British Telecom, while is owned by British Airways but redirects to

  • Jose Augusto

    Great article. I own ɢ.com

  • Charles

    I tried for a long time around 94/95 to persuade ICANN to release the 1-letter domains. I even went as far as registering a trademark for ‘’ and making it my company name, just in case they got released – I’d have a genuine case for ownership. Never happened though 🙁