The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), which maintains the registry, is rumored that it will once again allow individuals to apply for .CN (and it’s IDN equivalent) domain names. The announcement is excepted to be made tomorrow.
The registration ban that had been implemented in December of 2009. The official reason that had been cited was that many of these sites were used for pornographic content and people were often using fake names when registering. The only way to get a .cn domain extension was by having a valid business license in the country, which restricted individuals from having personal domains, that is until now.
To back up the personal usage – which also covers wholly localized, Chinese domains that end with ‘.中国’ – Techweb reports that CNNIC will also put into place three new rules to make such websites accountable for their content under Chinese law. It’s not clear if that applies to political material, or if it’s just a safeguard against sexual images or videos.
CNNIC says that there are 3.5 million such localized top-level domains in China, out of a total of 7.86 million registered sites in the country (using ‘.com,’ ‘.net,’ etc). That former number is said to have dropped by 10 million after the ‘.cn’ clampdown in 2009 which saw website owners forced to transfer their domain onto a business license or face having the web portal shut down.
As this is expected to be announced tomorrow, there’s no word of this yet on the CNNIC website. But, in a separate post on the Chinese version of the site, I notice that the agency indicates another rule change issued today which specifies how ‘.cn’ and ‘.中国’ domains will be treated as separate services starting on October 29th of this year.
This comes as a great news for China and it can be a new opportunity for ccTLD investors to wet their beaks even though there is nothing stopping the Chinese registry from banning public registrations in the future again just like in 2009. There is uncertainty, but so is there an opportunity if you are going to invest in the premium one-word and generic names and are in it for the long haul.
Anyways stay tuned, we’ll update tomorrow if this news becomes official.