IN A bid to increase the competitiveness of the country's image, the Estonian Internet Fund has decided to take the step of adding another e to the country's top-level domain name.
Still fresh off a reform of its domain names, Estonia will move to dot-eee by April 1, 2013 and to dot-eeee by April 2015, with a short transition period for a yet-to-be determined domain name.
The Internet Fund assured companies that the move to dot-eee has very little practical value and is largely symbolic.
"The extra 'e' indicates many things. 'Enhanced,' 'electronic,' 'extra' value added," said Rait Rakvere, an IT developer close to the Fund.
The dot-eee announcement was immediately criticized by a small and vocal grass-roots group of Internet users, known as the Estonian Internet Network, who said the move would require them to update all of their bookmarks manually.
They also accused the Fund of being behind the times.
"E's glory days as a letter are long over, and so is i's," said Paul Paide of the Internet Network. "It's really all about diacriticals now, such as õ," adding sheepishly that he was still partial to his own proposal, dot-e-õ.
Paide also noted that the move to dot-eee will not be automatic.
A spokesperson for the Internet Fund confirmed this was the case.
"We could just add the extra 'e' to the top level domain overnight. But we feel that companies should go through the re-registering process, anyway," said Tarmo Tartu.
In fact, Tartu said, half of the Fund's staff still back the option of simply throwing out all domain names and having companies re-register on a first-come, first-served basis, to remove any doubt that the previous reform had not been conducted properly.
"The good news is that we will issue about 20 reminders before it happens, and even then companies will probably still have a chance to register for about a year, when the next reform takes place."
No sooner will be the transition to dot-triple-e be complete that trademark analysts are already plotting for when Estonia hopes to go 4E.
Current debate in geek circles centers on what to do if there is an interim phase, potentially either dot-3,5e, dot-3.5e or dot-eee1/2.