Home / Blogs

Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die?

Country code domain names are surging in popularity. .de, Germany's domain name, is the second most popular domain behind .com. .UK is more popular than .org. Five country code domains saw double digit growth in the last quarter: at (Austria), .es (Spain), .fr (France), .ru (Russia), and .us (United States). Major companies, including Volvo, are advertising sites based on the .us domain.

But what happens to country code domain names that are no longer in use?

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a function performed by ICANN, is responsible for the delegation of top-level domains in the DNS root. IANA is reviewing its practices associated with top-level domains which have been revoked from the officially assigned list, including top-level domains which have been replaced by a new country code.

Last week IANA sent out a call for community input on its practices.

Examples of previous country code changes include:

1. Zaire ("ZR") renaming to the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("CD").

2. The breakup of the Soviet Union resulting in the code "SU" being replaced with codes for the independent states, such as "RU", "BY", and "UA". Every former soviet state has a new code, which been allocated to an operator by IANA.

3. East Timor's code changing from "TP" to "TL".

4. Czechoslovakia's ("CS") division into the Czech Republic ("CZ") and Slovakia ("SK").

5. The remaining components of Yugoslavia ("YU") becoming Serbia and Montenegro ("CS"). Following a referendum, in September 2006 Serbia and Montenegro further split into two independent identities Serbia ("RS") and Montenegro ("ME").

Among the questions IANA wants to answer are if domains that are retired should be removed from the DNS root and on what schedule this should be done. The public is invited to comment by sending email to cctld-sunset-comments@icann.org. Comments can be seen here

By Andrew Allemann, Domain Name Blogger

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

VINTON CERF
Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet

Comments

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By Max Tulyev  –  Dec 13, 2006 11:41 am PDT

It seems that someone wants people beleive these domains are really dead and nobody interesting in it. It is not true at least for SU.

Ex-USSR Internet community was very surprised of such perspective. SU is alive, growing domain, even a bit "elite" one. As we can see at statistics page http://stat.nic.ru/en_su/2006/10/31/titul-20061031.shtml SU have 7586 domains and contiune growth up to 30 domains per day. There is also a number of public 3ld domains, such as msk.su. Nobody even think about this domain can be lost. It is alive, it is growing fast, it is usefull.

There can be a very bad precedent of killing alive domain even without any real policy reason, just because someone in ICANN don't like it. Who is saying SU is not in ISO list - kill EU first for same reason.

Community strongly disagrees with this proposal. You can read discussions at RIPE dns-wg list this thread http://www.ripe.net/ripe/maillists/archives/dns-wg/2006/msg00177.html and also comments on ICANN site http://forum.icann.org/lists/cctld-sunset-comments/threads.html#00004

.CIS domain can be implemented for almost same reasons is really a good idea, but NOT an replacement of .SU. At first, .CIS is NOT ex-USSR. At second, there is a lot of domains already in .SU, many of them are well-known, a lot of money involved in adversitement.

So hands off and don't touch anything really works good - the first law of system administration is a good rule for that situation too.

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By David Conrad  –  Dec 14, 2006 8:48 pm PDT

Max,

There can be a very bad precedent of killing alive domain even without any real policy reason, just because someone in ICANN don’t like it.

No one at ICANN I am aware of has any issue with .SU or any other top-level domain.  The policy reason for removing .SU, .YU, and .TP is, very simply, that ISO-3166/MA (NOT ICANN) has stated at their country code table, those 2-letter ISO codes are not to be used, specifically:

Code element deleted from ISO 3166-1; stop using ASAP

But you know this, as I pointed it out to you before.

Who is saying SU is not in ISO list - kill EU first for same reason.

SU is in the ISO-3166 list (as is EU) as documented above.  The issue is that ISO-3166/MA is telling us to stop using it ASAP.

So hands off and don’t touch anything really works good - the first law of system administration is a good rule for that situation too.

The system that has been in place has been that IANA must follow ISO-3166 to define the ccTLDs.  By your logic, we should remove SU (and YU and TP).

Regards,
-drc

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By John Berryhill  –  Dec 16, 2006 2:03 pm PDT

The issue is that ISO-3166/MA is telling us to stop using it ASAP.

"Us"… oh, please.  The ISO-3166 list became relevant when Jon Postel determined that he was not in the business of determining what is, or what is not, a country.  The ISO-3166 is merely a standardized list of two letter codes for those desiring to use it, or not use it, for whatever purpose one's little heart may desire.  As everyone knows, the ISO list is a lottery for lucky territories such as Tuvalu and Laos, which can contract to market names for purposes having utterly nothing to do with the purpose of the ISO list - to provide a standardized set of two-letter references to various countries and territories.

I mean, if anyone ever obtains control of Western Sahara, then Canadians will finally be able to use their natural TLD (.eh).

The notion that the ISO-3166 Maintenance Authority is responsible for determining the composition of the root zone, or that IANA is somehow obligated to the ISO-3166 MA to organize the root zone in accordance with ISO-3166 is silly.  We can all skip the ICANN meetings and the TLD Policy Development Process, and infiltrate the ISO-3166 MA to get new TLDs, if that's how one thinks things "are supposed to work".  Buy an island somewhere and declare it "The Republic of XXX".

The point with .su and other "abandoned" former ISO 3166 codes is that there are entities using domain names in those TLDs.  Whether the Soviet Union exists is not relevant.  Nor would it be at all relevant to people using .ws as "WebSite" or .tv as "Television" whether some far-off tropical paradise has succumbed to a rising Pacific sea level or not.

Clearly, before the trademark lobby hires a mercenary army to take over Cameroon, we need to avoid the impression that the 3166/MA horse is "supposed" to be pulling the IANA cart.

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By David Conrad  –  Dec 18, 2006 4:55 pm PDT

John,

The notion that the ISO-3166 Maintenance Authority is responsible for determining the composition of the root zone, or that IANA is somehow obligated to the ISO-3166 MA to organize the root zone in accordance with ISO-3166 is silly.

It would indeed be silly to suggest ISO-3166 MA is responsible for determining the composition of the root zone.  Fortunately, I did not do that.

IANA has historcially followed ISO-3166 for the definition of the 2-letter ccTLDs.  Pretending otherwise is, to borrow a term, silly.  ISO-3166 MA has indicated that the use of certain 2 letter codes be stopped "ASAP".  If you wish to propose IANA not follow ISO-3166, that's fine (although it might be nice to suggest what we should follow instead).  This is why we asked the questions we did.

Buy an island somewhere and declare it “The Republic of XXX”.

You would, of course, also need to get ISO-3166 MA to recognize it and allocate a 2 letter code.  You will note that a ISO-3166 2 letter code was not allocated to (e.g.) Sealand.

The point with .su and other “abandoned” former ISO 3166 codes is that there are entities using domain names in those TLDs.  Whether the Soviet Union exists is not relevant.

Of course it is relevant.  Current IANA policy is to derive ccTLDs from the ISO-3166 list.  The creation of two letter codes for Serbia and Montenegro are the most recent examples.  As such, changes to that list, e.g., a country going away causing the ISO-3166/MA to remove a country code, would indeed be relevant to what IANA considers a potential ccTLD. 

If you don't like the policy, propose a new one.  Pretending that policy doesn't exist isn't particularly helpful.

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By Anne Nichols  –  Dec 30, 2006 8:37 am PDT

As an everyday user of the internet who deals with domains for clients, I can only see confusion and annoyance as the end result of stopping the use of certain country codes which are no longer "officially" attached to specific countries. 

To hypothesise a step further, consider if the UK was split into its separate countries and each nation state was allocated a new code - England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland would all no longer be subject to the .uk code. What sort of rumpus will it cause to then say that .uk is no longer a valid code?  Given the amount of expense by businesses to promote their websites on .uk domains there would be a huge number of seriously unhappy firms out there. It's not just the inconvenience, but also the cost of changing the domain on all of their branding/stationery/vehicles/properties etc… the sign and stationery people must be rubbing their hands with glee at the very thought of businesses worldwide having to change domain codes.

I can see no difference between the above scenario of breaking up the .uk to the breaking up of the .su domain.  Surely the internet is an evolving thing and we can accommodate new political entities without having to wipe out old codes and cause annoyance and inconvenience to those who actually use the system at ground level?

There are very sound arguments for allowing regional domains - else why would the .eu one have even been considered? The country codes such as .su can fulfill the same function for countries within the former Soviet Union -i.e. create a regional identity which, for businesses operating in more than one nation state in that region, is probably a better option that having individual state domains.

I am aware that the powers that be who make these decisions probably do not listen to small voices such as mine from a tiny part of the user-group (after all I don't have the power of a large ISP or a registrar behind me - just a good helping of basic business and common sense!), but this is something I feel very strongly about and would urge them not to revoke any of the currently-used country codes. If it means finding a different method of allocating codes to that currently used (the ISO-3166/MA) then so be it. The tail really should not be wagging the dog!

Re: Where Do Country Code Domain Names Go to Die? By David Conrad  –  Dec 30, 2006 1:34 pm PDT

Anne,

the sign and stationery people must be rubbing their hands with glee at the very thought of businesses worldwide having to change domain codes.

Good thing businesses never change their names, telephone numbers, or postal addresses.  Oh, wait…

More seriously, how often does a country break up into multiple new countries?  There have been three since 1992: SU, YU, and CS.  The issue here is that the current administrators of SU (who are also the administrators of RU) do not wish to give up SU, having restarted selling names to that TLD in (I am told) 2002.  This is not an issue with either YU or CS — the registries for those TLDs kept to their agreement not to sell new names in those TLDs.

There are very sound arguments for allowing regional domains - else why would the .eu one have even been considered?

Because ISO-3166/MA reserved the code element EU to correspond with the European Union which has international legal status.  As of 1992 (or so), USSR, for which the code element SU was assigned, no longer has international legal status.

The country codes such as .su can fulfill the same function for countries within the former Soviet Union

And what happens when ISO-3166/MA reallocates the SU code to a newly designated country or territory?  As they did with CS (used to be "Czechloslovakia" and was reallocated by ISO-3166/MA to "Serbia and Montenegro", which have since separated into RS and ME)?  Seems like this would cause more "confusion than annoyance" than stopping the use of "certain country codes which are no longer “officially” attached to specific countries."

If it means finding a different method of allocating codes to that currently used (the ISO-3166/MA) then so be it.

Please offer suggestions for alternatives at "cctld-sunset-comments@icann.org".  Right now, current policy is that IANA uses ISO-3166 to define ccTLDs.  When ISO-3166/MA unassigns a code element, IANA sunsets the TLD associated with that element.  In all cases except SU this has not been a major issue, the transitions have gone smoothly over extended periods of time.  However, the folks who run SU/RU have restarted selling names in SU, thus making transition more complicated. The reason we've asked for comment is that we're not sure how to move forward.  Now is your opportunity to provide input.

Rgds,
-drc

Add Your Comments

 To post your comments, please login or create an account.

Related

Topics

Whois

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

Cybersecurity

Sponsored byVerisign

New TLDs

Sponsored byAfilias

Brand Protection

Sponsored byAppdetex

Cybercrime

Sponsored byThreat Intelligence Platform

IP Addressing

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

DNS Security

Sponsored byAfilias