“Our company’s employees, with their dedicated work, have created a brand that Montenegro it today proud of, and recognised for worldwide. Throughout all these years we’ve had the full support of the Government of Montenegro, as the main project partner, says Predrag Lešić, CEO of company DoMEn, the .ME Registry.
This year you’re celebrating 10 years of successful operations. Are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved; and which tasks have you set for yourself for the next decade?
– We are very satisfied with the project, and for various reasons – considering all the changes that have taken place since the new .me extension was established on the internet. The domain industry is today a market competing ideally, with more than 2,000 brands competing at the global level, so great skill is required to relate the .me domain message to the end user. When you have a limited promotional budget, creativity is decisive.
Although it’s difficult today to predict the development of technology and its impact on the industry, we hope that the period ahead will also unfold with the continued popularisation of the ‘.me’ brand. The fact is that platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Twitch don’t contribute to the development of the domain industry, but – on the other hand – these same platforms today serve to raise awareness of the industry if you view them as a promotional channel.
We are aware that managing this kind of project demands not only the fulfilment of contractual obligations that form the basis for economic development, but also that the knowhow we possess should be transferred to the local community, with the help of local community partners
Your .me domain has recorded swift growth and quickly profiled itself as an ideal domain for building a personal brand and sending a short, clear marketing message in the very name of a website. How many registrations do you now have?
– There are currently around 910,000 domains in the registry, which is slightly less than the period two years ago when we broke the one million domains barrier. Unfortunately, the trend of domain registration in China didn’t continue, and thus this rapid growth in the number of domains was followed by sharp decline. The entire industry was hit by the first large number of new registrations and their subsequent withdrawal. We are still recording stable growth in other geographical areas of the global market.
How would you describe the first decade of the operations of your company, which functions under the auspices of a public-private partnership?
– Domain.me is now a global brand. The value of ‘.me‘ extensions is also evident at a glance, because it’s very easy to explain how the domain can be used. What’s more difficult is getting to the end user, relaying this message to them, enabling them to register and providing them with all other support services at the global level, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These obstacles were overcome through the public-private partnership in which all partners played their part in the best possible way.
Company Afilias made available its robust infrastructure for the operation of the registration system, as well as the DNS system, while company GoDaddy engaged all of its available marketing capacities to present this domain at the global level. Finally, company ME-net used its knowhow to secure unhindered registration at the second level, as well as registration at the third level, exclusively for Montenegrin citizens and companies.
Apart from global recognisability, Montenegro has also made significant financial gains from this public-private partnership. This relates to states revenues of around 30 million euros in charges from domain management contracts, various forms of taxes and contributions, as well as through the financing of various socially responsible projects.
Despite the great financial benefits to the development of Montenegrin society from the primary operations of this company, DoMEn is equally focused on social responsibility, with the goal of developing the information society and a digital community through the education of the generations responsible for the future of this country. What are the motives of such an operational policy?
– The motive for such an operational policy is precisely the fact that it is about a publicprivate partnership, and the two segments that we have emphasised are entrepreneurship and programming.
We are aware that the information revolution is pushing us towards increasing the number of jobs in the programming industry, and that programming languages are universal languages for communication between computers.
On the other hand, by moving actively through the start-up industry and monitoring the development of technologically fast-growing companies (start-ups), we formed the cradle of a start-up ecosystem in Montenegro, in cooperation with partners both from the country and abroad. We can state with pride that we have achieved impressive results, for which we congratulate everyone who is with us on this journey to modernising technology and entrepreneurship in Montenegro.
Our results aren’t only measurable from the perspective of Montenegro, but also from that of the region, and I would dare to say Europe too, especially when it comes to the ’Spark.Me’ conference.
We invest significant material and human resources in the promotion and popularisation of programming at all levels, from early primary school to universities. This is the future
You’ve launched a special programme for allocating premium domains. What are the results like?
– The results of the programme are impressive with hindsight. The reason for this is the media visibility that came as a result of the promotion we received due to our cooperation with world-renowned companies and individuals. All of that was transferred to ordinary, daily registrations, and the result has been steady growth throughout all 10 years.
We, thus, established cooperation with internet giants like Facebook, WordPress, Vogue, Telegram, WhatsApp, The New York Times and others. On the other hand, ’domain. me’ became the first choice for a large number of experts seeking to create personal pages, such as TonyConrad.me, Ted.me, TuckerMax.me, Verou.me etc. And many have achieved additional success thanks to having a domain that transforms an address into an attractive marketing message: Build. Me (SAP), Next.Me (Banco Brandesco), Join.me, PayPal.me, About.me etc.
When all of this is considered together, we can state assuredly that we are on the right track, and we hope that will also be the case in the future.