ICANN President Paul Twomey makes a deal. From http://bert.secret-wg.org/Stars/
The Results: -1 TLD. Since ICANN was formed November 1998, a net of one top-level domain has been lost. Detailed results below.
While ICANN slowly allows new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to come online, another countervailing trend works to decrease the number of TLDs, as country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) go dark. I decided to keep score. For reference, here is the “official” list of ccTLDs from IANA.
The results are an exquisite testament to the slick hypocrisy of some governments, and more generally ICANN’s of Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which insists loudly on the sovereign rights of governments to “their” TLD, because (they say) only governments can guarantee the public interest. Apparently they have decided that it’s in the best interests of the native residents of their colonial possessions to become invisible on the Internet.
They are also a testament to ICANN’s eager, and improper, acquiescence to the appalling GAC Principles, which set out the obligations of everyone connected with a ccTLD except those of the governments themselves, who are required to do nothing at all except petition ICANN for redelegations (readily granted), and fire people they don’t like.
Note: I’m grateful for corrections, please comment on any mistakes
New TLDs Added: 13
These TLDs have come online since ICANN took over in 1998 (these results include newly added gTLDs that may not yet be functioning):
- .EU (Europe)
- .PS (Palestine)
Inactivated TLDs: 14
These are non-functional domains being held either directly by governments or by governmental ccTLD registries, with silence from ICANN. “Inactivated” means that there is no public method of registering a domain name there. I’m not including TLDs with very restrictive eligibility requirements, just those that don’t work at all — they are effectively closed off.
France is easily the worst offender, since its offline TLDs have substantial local populations. The attitude of AFNIC, the French registration authority, is like that of Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the former President of France. When the French were conducting atmospheric nuclear tests in Polynesia, a reporter asked him why if it was so safe he didn’t test it out in France. “Mais — c’est la France” (But — it is France), he replied.
So much for the much-vaunted principle of the “Local Internet Community.”
- .FX (France Metropolitaine, now completely removed from the official IANA list
- .MQ (Martinique, used to accept registrations, now offline)
- .PF (French Polynesia, has a tiny amount of registrations, not open to the public)
- .PM (St. Pierre + Miquelon, used to accept registrations, was taken over by AFNIC under still-unexplained circumstances, closed to registrations)
- .TF (French Southern Territories, used to accept registrations, redelegated by ICANN, now held directly by AFNIC, closed to registrations)
- .WF (Wallis and Futuna, never activated, held directly by AFNIC)
- .YT (Mayotte, never activated, held directly by AFNIC)
- .AX (Aland Islands, part of Finland, never activated)
- .PN (Pitcairn, redelegated to the NZ Gov’t by ICANN, closed to registrations)
- .BV (Bouvet Island, held by UNINETT, the Norwegian registration authority, never activated)
- .SJ (Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, held by UNINETT, never activated)
- .GS (South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, used to work, taken over by the British Gov’t, no longer active)
- .UM (U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, held by IANA/ICANN, never activated)
Neutral - TLD happenings that haven’t added or subtracted
- TLDs that have never been delegated but it’s not anyone’s fault
- .KP (North Korea — can’t blame ICANN for this one!)
- .CS (Serbia & Montenegro — the Serbs aren’t ready to claim this dubious prize)
- .EH (Western Sahara — not a big technology push by anyone there)
- Decomissioned TLDs due to countries changing their names:
- .ZR (Zaire, replaced by .CD)
- TLDs with a new and an old designation:
- East Timor (the old .TP, the new .TL — registrants have names in both)
Update: I forgot .PRO and .JOBS, so I added them in and adjusted the figures accordingly. Still a net loss of 1.
Second update Jan 31 2006: Added the unassigned .EH (Western Sahara) to the “neutral” list because I suspect its non-assignment is due to political turmoil in the region — in other words, IANA can’t figure out which government to obey. I could easily have added it to the other side, though, inasmuch as it’s closed off and the local internet community (such as it is) has no say in its delegation or operation. I also corrected Zaire’s code to .ZR.