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Jackson Hts., New York, February 20, 2012 - With the April 12 deadline for submission of TLD applications to ICANN approaching, we were curious about the status of applications for culture-based TLDs, and approached representatives from organizations advocating for TLDs for Wales and Scotland.

First up was a conversation earlier this month between the principle advocate for Wales’ .cymru TLD, Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, and two Connecting.nyc Inc. board members, Thomas Lowenhaupt and Robert Pollard.

Mr. Lowenhaupt first met Maredudd at the June 2007 ICANN meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Maredudd had traveled to San Juan to express to ICANN board members the intent of the Welsh people to acquire and develop the .cymru TLD as a cultural resource, as Mr. Lowenhaupt had for the .nyc TLD. Both worked for 5 years seeking a level playing field in the ICANN’s application process for their geographic and cultural TLDs. 

An email from Maredudd responding to our invitation had prepped the conversation, “How are things coming along with NYC? I think that the last time we spoke was back in the Paris ICANN meeting in 2008. There were rumors of at least three potential applicants for .nyc at the time so it’s nice to see that you’re still involved.” Then on a sad note Maredudd stated:

“It’s got to the point now where I’m organising an AGM to close the company down. It’s impossible for us to compete against Nominet when the civil servants support them and the friends of the Welsh Government have been placed in Nominet’s advisory committee in Wales. Also, since the Welsh Government wants Nominet to be the registry for the TLD they won’t give us any money - although we do have the $185.000 in a loan. The UK Government has the last word on this since they will be giving the letter of no objection and they know Nominet well and won’t consider Welsh communities, language or culture when deciding whether to support Nominet or not.”

With that email as backdrop for the hour long conversation, the talk had few high notes. An exception was the Wales-Hangout-b.jpgapparent success of Scotland in maintaining control of their TLD for the enhancement of the Scottish culture. More on that soon. 

In response to Maredudd’s inquiry as to the status of our effort, Thomas explained how, when the city announced its intention to apply for the TLD in 2009, and thereby met the organization’s initial goal, his organization had stepped aside as applicant and offered to assist with the educational tasks. But he noted with regret that the city had not undertaken any such tasks, and had not engaged his organization or the public in the development process. As a result, in December 2011, with the application deadline fast approaching, and no research or education having taken place, their organization recommended that: 

Having worked and waited over 10 years for this opportunity to arise, we find ourselves compelled and saddened to make the following recommendation: Let’s begin now to undertake a comprehensive review of all that a TLD can do for our city. Let’s observe cities receiving TLDs in this first round and learn from the experience. And let’s prepare for ICANN’s next filing opportunity for city-TLDs, expected in perhaps three years - barely enough time to prepare a thoughtful and comprehensive plan.

Thomas and Robert wished Maredudd well and offered their sincerest regret that the Welsh people seen likely to loose the opportunity to foster their culture’s growth with a locally controlled TLD.

(Commons Photo courtesy of CnI Library. Top, Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, Robert Pollard, Thomas Lowenhaupt, bottom. Welsh dragon courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.) 

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Filed February 21st, 2012 under .london, Barcelona, City-TLDs, .paris, .berlin

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