Dot.TK Free Domains: Don’t Call It a Comeback


Looking to register a free Dot.TK domain? I’d urge you to reconsider & simply pay $10 for a regular domain (eg, .COM, .ORG, .NET) from a respected registrar. For just $10, you’ll have full control over your domain & website.

I suggest Go Daddy, the world’s largest registrar. They’re cheap, and pretty easy to use (just ignore the upsells). You can read what GoDaddy users say about the service here.

Think back to 2001. Altavista ruled the school in Nerdsville and AOL was cranking out enough free CDs to pave the Pacific. Business models were for squares, and ad revenue was for trad media, daddio.

Crazy days. Way back then, Dot.TK domains became the TLD of choice for spammers and scammers – the old school .info domain, if you will. Indeed, you’d be forgiven for concluding that the Tokelau islands‘ 1,300 citizens (pictured below) were all hard-grafting Viagra® salesmen and 419 scammers (in cahoots with PayPal’s *cough* ‘account verification team’).

The truth is less exciting (which is a shame, as my version would make a cracking tiki-themed reality TV show). The bijou South Pacific islands got their mitts on a TLD, and took the Yankee dollar Dutch guilder in exchange for allowing any Tom, Dick or beleaguered Nigerian Head of State the right to register domains gratis. The idyllic South Pacific islands now boast a staggering 1,300+ domain name registrations per capita.


A recent McAfee study concluded that a staggering 10.1% of Dot.TK websites were home to spyware, spam, phishing scams or some other flavour of malware. Hilariously, US ISP RoadRunner once decided the only solution was to block every Dot.TK domain bar two.

Since the Dot.TK registry brags of serving 6,000,000 unique visitors daily, we can guesstimate that a staggering 606,000 internet users get the chance to be scammed every day of the year in the name of the Tokelau people (I guess I can kiss my Tokelau visa goodbye).

Why the history lesson? Dot.TK domains are getting a makeover, with some interesting news for online marketing aficionados, cheapskates, domain geeks and, hey, all you trademark owners out there.

They’ve given a young child some new crayons to draw a Dot.TK logo:

Dot.TK domains logo

They’ve coined a factually inaccurate strapline: “Renaming The Internet”. They’ve opened offices in Soho, London, seconds from Nonsense HQ and London’s finest burrito joint.


Heck, they’ve even crafted a mission statement, just like NASA. In the immortal words of MC Hammer, they now aim to be “too legit to quit”. Onwards with the news.

Free Domain Names

Common or garden Dot.TK domains remain free (read: longer than four letters, no ‘premium’ .tk domains, no trademarks). That’s right: free domain names. Be sure to read the quirky domain registration T+Cs, like the fact you lose your free domain if you get less than 25 visitors/day.

Free domains carry a Blogspot-style banner up top with contextual ads and thumbnails of popular .TK sites. Popular .TK sites? Hmm… I’d not be comfortable with promoting that kind of site. So lucky that paid Dot.TK domains start at $6.95/year. Ever wonder how Google stock hit $700? Witness Mountain View’s finest mercilessly monetizing those lucrative ‘Learn how to speak Tokelau‘ SERPs on

Google.TK ads

Dot.TK Contextual Ads

Fortunately for us, the Tokelau islanders are an ad-loving people. Dot.TK are launching a contextual ad platform to serve text ads on free Dot.TK domains. Forget the awful name (‘Buy-an-Eye‘, anyone? ANYONE?), I’ll be investigating for cheapo, high volume traffic.

Plus every Dot.TK click you buy is one less user to get scammed on a Dot.TK domain. Signup now for launch notification by email. Rumours that Dot.TK registry emails arrive from the desk of deposed Nigerian President Shehu Shagari are yet to be confirmed.

Dot.TK Sunrise Period

Trademark owners have until December 3rd 2007 to claim their trademark domains
(NB. Google.TK is short on Tokelau sunrise photos, so make do with a Tokelau sunset up top).


The Dot.TK API allows you to integrate free domain registration into your site or application. While it’s hard to imagine becoming a regular in your referral logs, throwaway Dot.TK domains could integrate well with noob-friendly web design packages, like the fabulous RapidWeaver.

Enough about Dot.TK domains. Go book your late, late summer break in Tokelau and be sure to share your top Tokelau tourist tips in the comments.

  • Reaguurder says:

    They are surely the best burito joint in Soho….

  • Dave says:

    Well, they got rid of the ads at least…

  • Too bad not all the facts are correct and that
    you firmly believe McAfee’s reporting first hand. In the 2008 McAfee reporting it shows that .com and .net are much more dangerous than .tk domains. The good old popup ads that Dot TK used to have were counted as ‘virusses’ by McAfee. Ouch!

    .tk is here to stay 😉 We have been introducing a FaceBook application and people are using .tk nowadays to make a short domain to use in Twitter ( One thing you are definitely right about: ‘Buy-n-Eye’. That was an awfull name!


    Joost Zuurbier
    Dot TK Managing Director

  • Johno says:

    oh my lord, your trying to make out it’s the worst thing eva, why dont u just appreciate it and dont make a thing out of it.

  • Ninho says:

    You’ve been harsh in your article. Free dot tk domains work as designed, you can’t hope for more or better at the price (well you can always hope but cannot ask).

    Factually you made a mistake : 25 visits to site are required not per day, but per every *3 months* – not much of a limitation for a real site, it only helps eliminate the dead and the fake ones.

    A problem I have with them though : the mail server for accounts at dot tk is much too unreliable, randomly rejecting (not delaying, rejecting!) incoming mail. Oooops ! Are you listening, M. Joost Zuurbier ?

    All in all a good deal for the price :=)

  • Brian says:

    Well, too bad that people used .tk sites attempting to scam millions of users on the website. Stinks for those who actually got hacked and lost their accounts. Now there’s a scam going around on Facebook…..HINT, if you were able to check a link posted on your wall, in a comment, in chat, from a friend etc, then you were already logged into Facebook….why would you have to login again to check a supposed “group” on the site?

    Perhaps a good thing in theory, but as with everything that sounds too good to be true, it always is. Evil yet again succeeds in exploiting things with good intentions.

  • Ian says:

    I’ve just been informed that my legitimate paid-for TK blog is being blocked by stumbleupon and facebook, apparently just because its a TK domain.
    I got a free TK domain when I was too poor to rent a .com, and then paid to keep it once I got linked and had traffic to my blog and podcast.
    Why should legitimate websites be penalised by lazy system admins who think blocking an entire TLD is valid security?? How stupid can you get?

    My TK email doesn’t work properly either, which is a real pain because I PAID for my domain name.

  • Ardiawan says:

    I’m struggling to decide to use .tk. Nice article.



  • Mike says:

    The reality is as Ian’s comment noted. As long as .tk domains are treated as liabilities by 3rd party service providers they’ll never receive general acceptance and significant commercial value.

  • Jim Mooney says:

    My virus prog just blocked a tk domain that had some malware. I can to without the domain ;’) Sooner or later they’ll have something my virus prog doesn’t catch. How do I block all tk domains. I tried .tk in my hosts file, but that doesn’t seem to work. It doesn’t take wildcards either.

  • josh says:

    damn…and i was hoping for a free domain. lol

  • Edi Santoso says:

    Been using several domains from, all been great…no issues or whatsoever…no forced ads…like it so much..cheers

  • My first exposure to dot tk was in 2002. it was an ftp site for IDM music but it’s gone now, i wonder where they are

  • Ishtiak says:

    My virus prog just blocked a tk domain that had some malware. I can to without the domain ;’) Sooner or later they’ll have something my virus prog doesn’t catch. How do I block all tk domains. I tried .tk in my hosts file, but that doesn’t seem to work. It doesn’t take wildcards either.
    My first exposure to dot tk was in 2002. it was an ftp site for IDM music but it’s gone now, i wonder where they are

  • Marvs says:

    I registered for a .tk domain way back in 2005 though I already forgot the login info :))

    Lots of people are using this domain for personal sites specially for blogs as it is a valid TLD. It’s just unfortunate that some scammers decided to abuse this free service.

  • automoveis says:

    I use tk domains for more than an year, and I also have .com and .info on GoDaddy, and seems Tk managers are more concerning about spam, porno and virus than other managers. I supose the lobby of the paid domains are the only reason for the bad reputation of Tk domains.

  • Amit says:

    Don’t use domain as you will lose your traffic with 503 service unavailable..what the heck

  • vRozenSch00n says:

    I’ve been using .tk since 2003, experience a bumpy ride once in a while, but what the heck, I’m still using their service both free and paid. 😉

  • Hugh says:

    What a horrible and misleading article. It’s not’s that unfortunately people are using their domains for spam is it? have a very useful and free service which people should not be discouraged to use just because other people are misusing it.

    Furthermore, there are no adds or banners on their domains, and the hit’s requirement you speak of is actually 25 hits per 90 days.

  • Richard Kershaw says:

    Yes. Yes, it is their fault. They’ve provided a system of economic incentives (free domains) where it is profitable to use them for spam & scams.

    As for the numbers/ads quoted, the blog post is five years old so these may well have changed.

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