.wales

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Status: Delegated
country: Wales
Manager: Welsh Government
Registry Provider: Nominet
Registry: Nominet
Registry Backend: Nominet
Date Implemented: 07 August 2014
Type: Geo TLD
Priority #: 807
nTLDStats
Registrations: 13,007
Parked Domains: 5,967
Parked Domain %: 45.88 %
Important Dates
Delegation: 07 August 2014
General Availability: 01 March 2015

More Information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.wales is a Geo TLD for the country of Wales in the United Kingdom. The successful applicant and Registry Operator for the domain is Nominet, and it was delegated to the Root Zone of the DNS on the 7th August 2014.[1]


Background

In February, 2012, it was announced that Nominet had been chosen to run the technical registry functions for the yet-to-be-named managing entity associated with the Welsh Government. The same entity will also be applying for .cymru with Nominet, which means ".wales" in Welsh. The planned application for 2 Welsh TLDs apparently follows debate in the country as to whether their Geo TLD should be in their little-used, native language or in English, and also plans from a now-defunct entity lobbying for .cymru and .cym.[2] Nominet has stated that it plans to establish a model whereby excess funds are reinvested in Wales and its community.[3][4] The company contracted Beaufort Research in order to discover what their stakeholders would like done with the Welsh TLDs. They have released a questionnaire, with questions relating to policy, pricing and perceived demand.[5]


Language Issues

In October, 2012, Nominet was criticized for using poor Welsh grammar and structure on its website for the Welsh TLDs. One Welsh tech blogger alleged that Google translate or a similar program to create the text. Nominet had previously promised to expand beyond its English-centric presence and establish an office in Wales with Welsh speakers.[6]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"The mission and purpose of dot WALES will be to provide an innovative, relevant and trusted internet top level domain (TLD) for the use and benefit of the citizens and businesses of Wales and the Welsh diaspora.

For Welsh businesses, organisations and individuals, a dot WALES domain will contribute to a sense of community and ‘togetherness’, reflecting community pride and unity, and offering scope to celebrate Wales’s unique culture.

In a study carried out as background to this application (see attachment Q46_Economic_Study.pdf) 70% of consumers and 59% of businesses believe Wales should have its own domain space. 70% of consumers also said they would prefer a dot WALES TLD to a dot COM extension. 40% of businesses surveyed said that a dot WALES domain name could help promote their business in Wales.

We expect significant business take-up for the promotion of key economic sectors in Wales, such as leisure, tourism, agriculture and the creative industries, to reinforce local preference purchasing, and for the purpose of branding and awareness-raising of Wales to the world at large. More detail on this is provided in our answer to question 18(b).

We also expect dot WALES to contribute positively to the development of the Wales brand and to wider recognition of that brand overseas. In this way it will support the Welsh Government’s work in raising the profile of Wales internationally to attract inward investment, to promote exports and to grow the Welsh economy.

Nominet is bringing forward this bid. Nominet is a not-for–profit company which has been successfully running dot UK, the fourth largest registry in the world, for over fifteen years. Nominet’s systems and processes are at the leading edge within the registry community and it takes a responsible approach to policy development resulting in greater levels of protection to registrants and other stakeholders. ICANN can be confident that it will comfortably meet or exceed all the relevant technical, operational and financial criteria set out in the application process.

Nominet will operate the dot WALES TLD on a not for profit basis with any surplus being reinvested in community projects in Wales.

Nominet has received the necessary statements of non-objection from the Welsh Government and from the UK Government. We have also received strong statements of endorsement from the Welsh Assembly and from a wide range of business and community organisations in Wales.

Nominet is bringing forward in parallel an application for dot CYMRU (Cymru is the Welsh language name for Wales). Although ICANN’s rules require that these two TLDs are submitted as separate applications, it is our intention to provide them as part of a single, bilingual registry operation which serves the needs of all the constituent communities in Wales.

Operating model

The operating model for dot WALES will be an open TLD, primarily operating on a first come, first served basis, which is price-competitive with existing mass market TLDs. We will adopt an approach that effectively balances eligibility criteria with commercial sustainability which is most appropriate given Wales’s economic and cultural profile in the world.

Applicants for a dot WALES domain will be required to meet one of two registration criteria either (a) a validated postal address from a predefined list of postcodes associated with Wales; or, (b) complete an EPP extension field during their application setting out their affiliation with Wales. This affiliation need not be based on location of the applicant but instead their connection with Wales.

The geographical association (a) will be checked on application as part of a standard check for valid contact details for the domain applicant (see answer to Q28 for further details).

The registration policy ensures dot WALES is accessible to Wales-based businesses, organisations and individuals as well as those who have a connection with Wales, whether the Welsh diaspora or a company based outside Wales with a strong affinity to and customer base within Wales."[7]


Contract Signed

On 8th May 2014, Nominet received a Registry Agreement signed by ICANN for .wales after passing the Initial Evaluation.[8]

Delegation and Availability

.wales was delegated to the Root Zone of the DNS on the 7th August, 2014, completing the successful application for the string.[9]


Sunrise

The Registry announced that the Sunrise Period for the string would begin on the 1st September 2014, and end on the 31st October 2014.[10]

References

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