Business

Announcement of Japan's impending Reiwa Era sets off scramble for internet domain names

by Masumi Koizumi

Staff Writer

It is not only for products and companies that people have a desire to use the new Imperial era name, and its announcement has set off a scramble to acquire a domain name — the address used to access a website — featuring the word “reiwa.”

GMO Internet Inc. confirmed Wednesday that on the day of the announcement, there were more than 1,300 domain registrations with the era name expressed in kanji or roman characters on the Onamae.com service. Harumi Ishii, a spokesman for the internet service company, said through Tuesday the number grew to 2,000.

Ishii said that such domain names are almost sold out, but added that it may still be possible to acquire one “if you add a character (before or after) ‘reiwa,'” as in “reiwa1” and “reiwatokyo.”

Ishii said that after the unveiling, traffic to its website temporarily rose so high that it slowed down.

Some of the “reiwa” domain names have been put up for auction at hefty prices. A search on Yahoo Japan’s auction site Wednesday showed the domain name reiwa.jp had the price of ¥66,000 after receiving 87 bids as of 7 p.m., for example. Another domain, r-e-i-wa.com, even carried a price of ¥6 million.

Some companies had already been using “reiwa” in their domain name before the announcement.

Among them is the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, which said it had an unexpected surge in traffic to its website — reiwa.com — after the era name was unveiled, according to media reports. Seventy percent of the day’s traffic to reiwa.com was from Japan, the institute said.