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Would-be new country wants to share another country’s ccTLD

Kevin Murphy, January 21, 2021, 14:39:57 (UTC), Domain Policy

What do you do if you’re the government of a country without a ccTLD, because the rest of the world does not recognize you as a country?

Perhaps the strangest solution to this predicament is to ask another country with a semantically meaningful ccTLD of its own if you can share that national resource.

And that’s reportedly what the government of Somaliland has done, reaching out to Sierra Leone for permission to use its .sl TLD.

According to the Somaliland Chronicle, its IT minister has written to his counterpart in Sierra Leone to propose “a commercial partnership with your esteemed office regarding the internet Top Level Domain”.

The east African country, which has its own government and a small degree of international recognition, is not currently acknowledged by the United Nations — it’s considered part of neighboring Somalia — and as such does not qualify for a ccTLD under International Standards Organization (and therefore ICANN) policies.

The minister has reportedly forbidden the use of Somalia’s .so domain, and the government itself uses a .org.

Sierra Leone, on the other side of the continent, uses .sl, which would also be the perfect choice for Somaliland if it were not already taken.

It’s not clear to what extent Somaliland wishes to share the ccTLD, but if it were to go as far as full joint ownership that would be unusual indeed.

Of course, the quickest way into the DNS root in its own right could be to apply for a memorable, relevant gTLD in ICANN’s next application round, which is probably not too many years away right now.

In 2012, there were several applications for geo-gTLDs representing regions that want, to a greater or lesser extent, independence.

This trail was over course blazed almost in 2003 by Catalonia’s .cat and now includes the likes of .scot (Scottish), .eus (Basques) and .krd (Kurds).

New gTLD consultants, start your engines.

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Comments (4)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Besides that, we need to make a wrong right by assigning .com to the people of The Comoros.

  2. Andres H. says:

    Turkey has been doing this for a long time.

    Northern Cyprus, uses two .TR ccTLD SLDs

    Example: nc.tr

  3. Jean Guillon says:

    Time to consider the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program for a geographic or community TLD (more than 3 letters).

  4. wanker says:

    .cat is wasted on catalonia.

Leave a Reply to Jean Guillon