Although generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) are currently the subject
of some controversy (see the new Web site www.gtld-mou.org), there is
no controversy whatsoever on national TLDs. These two-letter country
codes are defined by the International Standards Organization in ISO
3166 (available at
The IANA, Jon Postel, hands out control of any domain to the first
legitimate-seeming organization requesting it
www.iana.org/iana/domain-names.html. As he says, "The codes we use are
two-letter codes from the ISO 3166 standard. The IANA is not in the
business of deciding what is and what is not a country, nor what code
letters are appropriate for a particular country." However, there
have been several cases where national governments later "woke up"
about the Internet and requested control of the domain. Postel has
always given authority to the government. As to Rohit's concern,
there is no more requirement for impartiality or reasonableness in
country-code domain name assignment than in any other area of
government control. (By contrast, the gTLDs are an international
resource with some special characteristics.)
As to the article, Bhutan (.bt) has not yet been assigned
(www.iana.org/iana/countryA-F.html), but IMHO, kuensel.bt is much
cooler than kuensel.com. By the way, for obscure domains, try out
www.magicnet.mn/english/ , which is transmitted from Mongolia by
NSF-funded satellite link.
As to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM to insiders),
it received full UN recognition several months ago after satisfying
the Greeks that it has no territorial ambitions on the (neighboring)
Greek state of Macedonia. Consequently, it's registered on ISO 3166
as .mk and the FYROM Foreign Ministry has taken control of the domain
We need to get away from the concept, perpetrated by this WSJ article,
that ".com" brings any legitimacy to a domain name.
-- Daniel Kohn <email@example.com> Teledesic Corporation +1-206-602-6222 (voice) 602-0001 (fax) http://www.teledesic.com
-----Original Message----- From: Rohit Khare [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 1997 8:27 AM To: FoRK Subject: Bhutan.com, .net held for ransom
ObFoRKBit: If you think that simply owning country.com is hard to be fair about, think about who should be registry for the country (.bt ? -- maybe British Telecom? :-) Registrars for .com and . web will be competitive, but aboveboard. How many of the 200-odd countries and territories have prepared for impartial, resonable national-domain registries? And just wait until the non-governments get involved: will Macedonian nationalists require 'nationhood' on the Net with their own TLD?
Shangri-La Shanghaied: Outsiders Seize `Bhutan' for Their Web Sites
By Jonathan Karp Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, tucked between India and Tibet, is one of the world's most sheltered nations. Few of its 650,000 people, mostly Buddhists, have telephones or televisions, let alone access to the Internet. Still, Kinley Dorji, editor of the national newspaper, was determined to create the first authentic Bhutan Web site. And he was stunned to learn that the most logical addresses -- Bhutan.com and Bhutan.net -- had already been registered, by "poachers," he says. A Canadian who owns Bhutan.com offered to sell it for $50,000. An Australian company demanded $2,500 for Bhutan.net. Either is a fortune for a country where the per-capita gross national product is $180. But that's not the point for this shattered Shangri-La. "Anyone who believes that the world is full of well-intentioned people need to seriously review their naivete," Mr. Dorji cautioned in an editorial on his brush with the outside world. In Vancouver, entrepreuner John Black says he registered Bhutan.com-- along with other geographical sites -- because he knew "someone from that area" who might put it to use. In fact, Bhutan.com was in use, for awhile. Internet surfers who logged on found a picture of a person lounging in a hammock under palm trees. The site was accidentally linked with Caribbean Online, also owned by Mr. Black, whose main business is setting up offshore operations for multinationals in the Caribbean. He says the same glitch occurred with other addresses he owns; surfers who keyed in "balding" and "bachelors" sometimes ended up in the Caribbean as well. Does Mr. Black feel he's bullying Bhutan? "Not when people are asking ridiculous amounts of money for what I need," he says. "If I could sell Bhutan to pick up Barbados, I'd do it." Besides, he says, other sites "have sold for over $250,000." Even so, Mr. Dorji decided to name the Web site after his newspaper, Kuensel, which aptly means "enlightenment." Kuensel.com is run out of Singapore, and Mr. Dorji updates it via a United Nations system because regular electronic mail isn't available in Bhutan. Early feedback indicates a healthy appetite for news about Bhutan, he says. But information junkies shouldn't expect hot news. The lead headline of Kuensel's May 10, 1997, on-line edition read: Imports exceed exports in 1995.