Moldova, a tiny former Soviet republic, is one of the poorest countries in Europe. But thanks to the Internet and a quirk of the alphabet it has a new export: the .md domain suffix.
Moldova's Internet domain suffix, .md, provides it with a small but growing amount of import revenue, thanks to some former U.S. investment bankers whose company, MaxMD, saw and seized an opportunity 2-1/2 years ago, according to Seanne Murray, a lawyer and company senior vice president.
After negotiating six months with a company in Moldova that had a relationship with that country's government, "We have a contractual relationship which gives us exclusive rights to market and distribute the .md domain (suffix) in the U.S. and over 90 countries worldwide," Murray said. "Our focus is on helping the medical community and it will continue to benefit the country of Moldova as well.
"The individuals that founded this company had a history of building businesses and when they saw .md they saw an opportunity," Murray said.
The Jersey City, N.J.-based company has about 9,000 users of the .md domain suffix who basically found out about its existence through word of mouth. The company spent the intervening 2-1/2 years researching the healthcare industry and now has a public Web site, max.md, and a package that provides customers with an exclusive domain name using the .md suffix, a Web page and an e-mail address for $150 a year, she said.
Murray said the .md domain suffix will let healthcare professionals link their online products with a domain suffix whose letters have a strong association with healthcare and help them cut through the Internet clutter.
"There are more than 40 million registered domain names in dot-com online," Murray said. "We like to say we are creating a garden out of what otherwise is a jungle."
Moldovans will retain the right to use the .md domain suffix in their own country, Murray said.