August 6, 2010

Independent Domain Registries

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Over the years in various countries alternative domain registries have been established to allocate domains under domain hierarchies (typically second-level domains) which compete with official gTLDs and ccTLDs.

Independent Domain Registries are not accredited by ICANN. They get their name space from a gTLD or ccTLD registry by registering a domain which resembles an official hierarchy. An example of this would be to register UK.COM with Network solutions which would allow you to allocate domains like This domain resembles the equivalent issued by Nominet, eg,

Most of the Independent Domain registries operate due to having a domain which starts with a ISO 3166-1 and then is in a gTLD hierarchy such as .COM.

One of the factors that has permitted these Independent Domain Registries being established is that ccTLD registries in many countries are very restrictive and do not answer the needs of the market they are meant to serve. Some entrepreneur acquires a domain which looks suitable and then starts allocating domains for which it delegates authority, in the same way an official registry does.

These registries will operate both the Registry and Registrar. In most cases they will use two companies to perform the Registry and Registrar function. The Registry will be a company which sole purpose will be to hold the data and the ownership of the top level domain. The Registrar will the company that is used for operations etc. The separation of the two gives protection to the domain registrants in such events that Registrar goes into bankruptcy, it is sued or what ever not to affect the continuity of the domains.

The idea for an independent global domain name registry stems from a series of conversations between one of CentralNic's original founders and the late Jon Postel, one of the founding fathers of the modern Internet. Postel suggested the use of *.UK.COM to compete with *.CO.UK, at a time when the proposed price of the latter was about $300.

After the use of UK.COM other ISO Country codes ending in .COM were also established such as AU.COM (Australia) and HK.COM (Hong Kong) and many other countries.

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