ccTLD Wednesdays – History and Updates

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The most well known top level domains, .com and .net and .org have made up an outside percentage of domain resales, and attention in the domain space.   The “new” top level domains (nGTLDS) continue to come online and draw attention; and grow and shrink; launch and fail.  There is another category of top level domains we cover at DN.BIZ, Country Code Top Level Domains (cctlds).

Making up 45% of total domain name registrations in the latest Verisign Quarterly report, cctlds might deserve a place on your holdings as a company or investor. Many of the global players in the domain space have come from cctld beginnings.  Looking back 30 years to 1987 as internet address were being allocated, you can see how (in this case .dk) made up a early run of domain registrations. These are all names currently registered with registration dates in last half of October 1987.

October 1987 Domain Registrations

As an industry participant, knowing where more and more of these registries and registrars are coming from can help strengthen your business.

This is especially true for US investors and companies who can easily think in an “US” versus “them” (global companies). For many “foreign” companies who have built significant business in cctlds – US companies and investors are the “them”.

I’ll cover cctlds every other Wednesday in a series. Welcome.

Cctld Updates and News

Its easy to limit your domain thinking to the New Tlds, and the other Legacy Tlds. Are you watching the cctld space as a company or personal website owner, investor or domain industry participant?  One of our sponsors makes it easy to keep up on whats happening in the cctlds space. Welcome Toweb.

The banner you see on the left hand side is Toweb. Toweb’s COO Simon Penchansky keeps an update on various cctlds on their front page.  Scanning the news I read .ca is promoting the .ca extension with TV Ads.  I see the .US contract was renewed in July.  I was glad for Simon’s reference to the kids.us.

ccTLD Domain Names New and Comments.

Toweb.domains  ccTLD Domain Names New and Comments.

I was involved in the original application for .kids. I appeared before congress on hearings about the .kids tld. Congress approved a .kids tld  – and the good ole last minute political changes were made and a kids.us was awarded.  It has ever been supported by Neustar and is needed like never before.

Cctld History

Back to ccltds. I’ll run you through a brief history on cctlds.

When the internet naming system started, domain names were allocated by country.  If you were in Canada, you thought to get a .ca; Spain and .es, Australia a .au (and then the local governing body could decide to be com.au). The United States was .us. These were called country code top level domain names (cctlds). Names were assigned using codes developed for a telephone routing.  Responsibility for each country was delegated to a local manager.  It made sense and match how we acquired phone numbers, in our local area code. Or snail mail address, in the city/state/zip structure of our home country.

Some smaller countries received two letter combinations that ended up having value beyond the country itself, (.tv,.me,.la).  These became known as shared TLD’s or ccctlds (commercialized country code tlds).

Many larger countries integrated their registry system with the larger registrars. However, many used mail-in systems with various legal and notary type requirements. Faxing was the predominant way to register names.  Some country contacts were hard to find or work with.

Even today many countries have specific process requirements to register names. Many countries also have various requirements for having a local business, residency which requires tax or other fees, local contact info, DNS and currency limitations.  Unless you have the money for a courier or attorney in country,  you can use a cctld registrar that specializes in these types of registrations. Many can also provide you a business presence in the requested country.

Companies, portfolio owners and managers who want global coverage may need matching domain names in many countries. Self-identified Cctld Registrars help companies and registrars with these complicated registrations on a relationship basis.  We have used Toweb, especially for Latin America registrations. It has made registrations easier and possible.

So back to some history. So there were cctlds for each country, and Generic Top Level Domain Names (gTLDS) for those companies that marketed globally.  So the thought was you might have a localized presence in each country, and then a global TLD to market globally.

Adoption of domain names was more prevalent in the US. We had an almost universal postal mail system, wide credit card adoption and the naming system provider was in the USA. Plus, we are Americans and we think the whole world is about us anyway.

So even the smallest business or personal blog was foregoing the .us extension for .com. it was shorter, in widespread use by major online companies and marketed heavily.

The second reason US companies went for .com (or .net or .org)  over .us is the .us registry operator further delegated and set-out a third level (and fourth and fifth). You first extended the .us with a two letter state code. So a California name would be domain.ca.us.  Then each state split their naming system into gov, co and other segments for government sites and companies and organizations.  Even geographically names were split between .ci for city, or borough, or .co for county.  No wonder everyone went for .com.

So even today many cities have their official website as a city.ci.ca.us.  You have to be a US citizen to have a .US domain name. Now picture that same type of structure or requirements in other countries and accommodating registrations for foreign companies is a role where you need help.  Your registrar or cctld oriented registrars can assist.

Rules and Restrictions

The .US domain name also has other restrictions like no sale of Opioid products.  Other countries may have similar limitations on sites and behaviors. So to get global coverage on your business name, marks or invested names, a little more work may be in order.   Whether its in the process, rules, requirements or making registrations easier; you may need help on cctld registrations.

Ill be back in two weeks with a cctld update and why you might want to buy a cctld for your website or as an investment. Let me know if you have any other questions about cctlds I can cover in two weeks.

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