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Norway bans the Dutch from using dormant .bv

The Norwegian government has intervened to prevent a deal that would have allowed the sale of .bv domain names in the Netherlands.

Norwegian ccTLD registry Norid and Dutch counterpart SIDN said a deal to start using the dormant ccTLD fell apart after the government exercised its right of veto under Norway’s domain regulations.

.bv represents Bouvet Island, the remotest island in the world. It’s a Norwegian territory in the Antarctic, uninhabited but for seals.

It’s been delegated to Norway since 1997, but has never been used.

But BV is also the Dutch acronym for “Besloten vennootschap met beperkte aansprakelijkheid”, a corporate identifier that has pretty much the same meaning as “Ltd” or “LLC”.

Clearly, there was an opportunity to make a bit of extra pocket money for both registries, had SIDN been allowed to licence the use of the ccTLD, but the government intervention has scuppered all that.

SIDN said it had planned to use .bv as “a platform for validated business data”, but that now it will try to implement that idea in .nl instead.

.co.no opens for business after court win

The Norwegian registrant of the domain name co.no has won a court case against .no registry Norid that will allow it to finally launch as a pseudo-ccTLD, according to the company.

A Trondheim court ruled that Norid cannot revoke Elineweb’s registration of co.no for alleged policy violations, but has also ruled that the domain cannot be transferred to a third party.

Therefore, Elineweb plans to start offering third-level .co.no domain names to companies and individuals unable to register the names they want under Norid’s strict policy regime.

The company will open .co.no on a first-come, first-served basis — having already conducted sunrise and landrush periods — tomorrow at 10am Central European Time.

The full list of 70+ accredited registrars can be found here.

DI first covered the lawsuit back in October 2011.

The .co.no namespace is managed by CoDNS, a subsidiary of the registrar EuroDNS that already operates .co.nl as a pseudo-ccTLD, in partnership with Elineweb.

The two namespaces are not official ccTLDs, but they are both recognized by the Public Suffix List, which makes them behave similarly in browsers.

European ccTLDs liberalize policies

Kevin Murphy, November 30, 2011, Domain Registries

Afnic, the .fr registry, will adopt new policies next week enabling organizations from outside of France to register domain names for the first time.

Under the rule change, entities in European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will qualify for .fr names.

The new policy (pdf), which comes into effect December 6, also applies to .re, the ccTLD for the French terrirtory Réunion, which Afnic also manages.

The registry is also discontinuing a handful of second-level domains which were previously available for third-level registration by the public.

Existing domains in .com.fr, ..tm.fr, .asso.fr, .asso.re, and .com.re will continue to function, but Afnic will no longer accept new registrations in these extensions.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Norwegian registry Norid liberalized its registration policies this morning, raising its ownership cap from 20 to 100 domain names per registrant.

Evidently anticipating a possible increase in cybersquatting disputes as a result, Norid has said it has also instituted a loser pays model for its dispute resolution process.

Norid sued over .co.no domains

Kevin Murphy, October 27, 2011, Domain Registries

The registrant of the domain name co.no has sued Norwegian registry Norid over claims that it tried to hold up the launch of .co.no as an alternative namespace.

Elineweb registered the domain back in 2001.

Last October, along with back-end partner CoDNS, the company said it would offer third-level .co.no domains to the public as an alternative to second-level .no names.

The idea was to bring gTLD-style friendliness to the strictly regulated .no ccTLD – where at the time companies were limited to 20 domains each.

Elineweb concluded a sunrise period this February, but subsequently delayed its full launch after Norid started asking it questions about the co.no domain’s ownership.

Norid was evidently not pleased. For the best part of 2011, it’s been conducting an investigation into whether the .co.no project complies with its policies.

In 2009, Norid added co.no and other two-letter domains to a reserved list. Already-registered domains on the list could continue to be used, but could not be transferred between registrants.

Norid has reportedly concluded that co.no has technically changed hands, hence Elineweb’s lawsuit. It wants the court to rule that its proposed service is legal.

“.CO.NO is a common initiative between Elineweb AS the registrant of the domain name and CoDNS BV, the technical back-end provider,” Elineweb said in a press release.

“We never tried to hide the fact that Elineweb is the registrant of the domain name, which is, besides a public information displayed in NORID whois database,” manager Sander Scholten said.

CoDNS, owned by Luxembourg registrar EuroDNS, is already the back-end provider for .co.nl, a pseudo-TLD offered in the Netherlands.

News of the lawsuit comes just a couple of weeks after Norid announced that it would raise the limit on the number of .no domains any given company can register to 100.

Google Translate turns ccTLDs into .com

Kevin Murphy, May 12, 2010, Domain Tech

I’ve found Google Translate an invaluable tool for researching overseas news stories, but it’s a pain in the neck for reading about domain names in foreign languages.

The service seems to have developed the habit of turning all freestanding ccTLDs into “.com”.

For an example, head over to Norid and turn on Norwegian-to-English translation (or, if you don’t have the Google Toolbar, use Google Translate on the web).

Every instance of “.no”, Norway’s country-code domain, is translated into a .com, more specifically “. Com”.

Ditto for German. Translate this story about Denic’s troubles today to see all instances of “.de” translated into “. Com”.

However, the front page of Afnic sees .fr translated to “. Com”, leaving .re, for the Reuinion Islands, untouched.

I should point out that the service leaves domain names alone, so nic.fr is still nic.fr. But you’ve still got to wonder what Google’s designers were thinking.