In the run up to the launch of new TLDs there were a lot of rumours about which organisations would apply for which strings. Detractors might pick holes in the entire project, but it's very hard to argue against the merits of new TLDs specifically in the context of cultural linguistic communities that fall outside the realm of ccTLDs (country code top level domains).
The case of Catalonia and .cat is probably the best one and has been vaunted as the poster child for new TLDs in some circles.
However when you transpose the concept of new TLDs and cultural linguistic communities to the UK you might not be surprised to see things almost fall apart. Such was the case with .cymru
If you've ever been to Wales you'll find that a lot of people do not speak English. Well they do, but they're happier speaking their own language — Welsh. So it wasn't that surprising that a grass roots project in Wales had been working on a new TLD application and that their string of choice was .cymru.
So what happened? For some odd reason the Welsh government decided against a .cyrmru bid and instead chose to go with a bid for .wales and gave the contract for the entire thing to Nominet, who run the .uk registry. Needless to say this decision was not welcomed in Wales.
So in the last few days the Welsh government back tracked and have now decided that Wales should apply for two strings, both the English language .wales and the Welsh language version .cyrmu.
So how does Nominet feel about this?
I reached out to Nominet CEO Lesley Cowley to get a reaction:
We're delighted to take this opportunity to help create Wales' online home. This builds on our long-established links with Wales — with our existing .uk business we have over 340,000 Welsh registrations and over 100 registrars based in Wales.
We've had expressions of support from those representing all political persuasions. There's growing momentum behind the bid and the decision to apply for two top level domains has been welcomed by all. This application in parallel is breaking new ground, which is why moving forward, we will be engaging with stakeholders to develop policies for these domains that ensure that they work well in tandem.
So how will this pan out?
As some observers have suggested, you can probably expect .wales to be pitched at a very different audience to .cymru. Will the existence of both strings placate the Welsh nationalists? One would hope so, but like anything involving new TLDs we probably won't know for sure until the proverbial fat lady sings…
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