Monday, 16 November 2020

".io" Country Code Domain Names


 






Jane Lambert

In Welsh Top Level Domain Names  12 April 2019 I described domain names as mnemonics for addresses of resources on the internet.  They contain at least two elements: 

  • a top level domain ("TLD") at the right of the domain name which may be the abbreviation of a country such as ".uk", ".de", "fr" or "it" or a description o the organization such as ".com", ".org" or ".net"; and 
  • a second level domain ("SLD") immediately to the left such as "bbc" or "google".
Often there is a third element immediately to the left of the SLD such as "www" for "worldwide web".  

In the article, I said that TLDs that are specific to a country, group of countries or territory are known as "country code top level domains" or "ccTLD". Those that are not are known as "generic top level domains" or "gTLD". Because country codes are not allocated to political subdivisions, there are a number of geographically specific gTLD for cities and regions.  One well-known example of a domain name for a city is ".london".  Another for a region is ".cat" for Catalonia.  There are two for Wales which are administered by Nominet:  ".cymru" and ".wales."

Country code top level domains are administered by "national network information centres" or "NIC" some of which are controlled by governments.  Most NIC impose very strict nationality or residence qualifications for registrations in their domain space but there are a few that do not.  One of those exceptions is "NIC-IO", the network information centre of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The country code TLD for that territory is ".io".

Since I started to study Welsh systematically in August I have learned that a large number of verbs in that language end in ".io".  It occurred to me that the "io" domain might be popular for Welsh language websites.   I entered a few familiar verbs with the dot separator before the last two letters into the address bar of my browser and found a few examples almost immediately.  The letters "lic.io" led me to a website called "Lunch in Cardiff" with a video of landmarks in the city.  Similarly, "siop.io" led me to 
"a local bilingual marketplace platform built with coffee, code & toasties over lockdown, in order to provide a better way for you to shop locally with independent food and drink businesses, restaurants, pubs & takeaways."

Other verbs such as "cof.io" and "is.io" led me to landing pages that advertised that the sites were for sale or rent.  In the case of "cof.io" for the memorable minimum rent of US$100 per month.  Having said that, there were still a lot of obvious names that are still available.   As of this morning, an employment agency might be interested to know that "gweith.io" has not yet been taken. It was offered to me for US$90. Similarly, ballet teachers might tombé for "dawns.io" which was available for the same fee.

For some businesses, an ".io" domain might be a good alternative to a ".wales" or a ".cymru" domain name.  However, apart from the somewhat stiff registration fee, there are a number of other matters that prospective registrants might want to bear in mind.  

The British Indian Ocean Territory was created by detaching the Chagos islands from Mauritius and the Des Roches islands from Seychelles before those countries had achieved independence.  The inhabitants of the Chagos islands were then deported to make way for the construction of a military base for US and British forces on Diego Garcia.  Both Mauritius and Seychelles claim the islands and the Chagossians have challenged the legality of their deportation in the English and other courts.  The Mauritian claim has been supported by the UN General Assembly in a resolution calling for the decolonization of the territory which was passed overwhelmingly on 22 May 2019.

Businesses wishing to acquire a ".io" domain can apply directly through the NIC.io website which is operated by the English company Internet Computer Bureau Ltd.  The company acts as registrar and runs the ".io" whois service.  Applicants are advised to read the company's policies and in particular the Dispute Resolution Policy.  Claims by trade mark owners for the transfer of domain names are resolved by panellists appointed by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.  That is the same as the procedure for resolving disputes relating to the ".cymru" and ".wales" domains which I mentioned in my previous article. 

This article is the latest of several serendipitous consequences of my learning Welsh.  I am often asked why I am taking the trouble to learn Welsh when I don't live in Wales and cannot claim a millilitre of Welsh blood in my veins.  A question that is asked much more frequently by Welsh people than by English, Scots or Irish. 

The answer is the same as for any language.   It is the key to understanding a culture.  In the case of Welsh, one that has coexisted many centuries with our own but is nevertheless very different and distinct.  The online service provider that has taught me Welsh much more rapidly and efficiently than my school teachers taught me classical and modern languages has already introduced me to animated films, chanteuses and earworms that have delighted me.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or domain names generally may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form. 

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