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Discontinued ccTLDs?
thinking, perplexed
A few of us on #perl were talking today about what would happen if Tuvalu (.tu) or Niue (.nu) were to sink into the ocean, as both have been threatening to do for some time, and thus were no longer recognized as countries.

My position was that the domains would continue to exist, because 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" (from here), and used .su (Soviet Union), .yu (Yugoslavia), and .mk (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) as examples.

Some disagreed, but could not come up with any examples of a discontinued ccTLD. Can any of you think of a ccTLD which no longer exists? (Here I'm defining "exists" as "has records on the root nameservers". If it's still there but doesn't accept new registrations, it still exists.)

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Hmm. Good question.

I worked at a domain registrar, once upon a Vancouver ago. I can't think of any, though I'll continue to ponder it as the day progresses (and I consume more coffee).

Wasn't there something about Iraq or Iran pulling the plug on their registry, though? I can't remember the details. Even if I'm remembering that correctly, though, their ccTLD still exists with IANA -- the country's just refusing to allow any more registrations.

To summarize: I'm sure the ccTLD would stick around -- some oily businessmen would just jump on it and (attempt to) promote the hell out of it, the way they tried with .ws ("It means WebSite! Honest!").

I'll ask a few colleagues who run some of the ccTLDs in question....

While Tuvalu is extremely flat, rising only a few metres out of the ocean, Niue has cliffs rising 15-30 metres straight up from the water. When Cyclone Heta (a force 5+) hurricane hit the country, they had battened down everything that could blow away, but never considered that the swell might actually crest the cliffs. It did, and destroyed the majority of the downtown.

Richard St. Clair, the man behind .nu ccTLD and universal free Internet access in Niue[*] is a pretty hardy guy, though, and had Internet back up and running in Niue within two weeks.

[*] So far as I know, it's the only country in the world that can make this claim.

Neighburing Kiribati also consists almost entirely of low-lying coral atolls.

Also: Tuvalu's TLD is the notorious .tv domain, IIRC.

Richard St. Clair writes:

I posted the question to the Pacific Islands Internet Group mailing list, and got this response:

'As far as "would the domains exist". The answer is yes. I've been in the background at ICANN meetings and overheard this question being raised. Something to do with country codes not really being country codes except in name only. Like there are ccTLDs in places where there are no people for instance (although right now I can't think of one). And there are also ccTLDs in places where the "country" is not really a country. Like in the case of Niue...whereas it is a self governing state in free association with New Zealand.

'And mostly with regard to Niue, I've heard this question raised when discussions about Niue integrating with New Zealand are brought up. And even then, the answer is "yes" the .NU domain will still exist.'

Re: Richard St. Clair writes:

Huh, neat. Thanks!

Also: Tuvalu's TLD is the notorious .tv domain, IIRC.

You do RC.

As for discontinued domains, .dd has no nameserver entries, apparently - but I'm not sure whether it ever did. (It's the domain for the German Democratic Republic, i.e. "East Germany".)

Oho! Yes. And looking for info on that found me a Wikipedia article, where I probably should've looked first. :-)

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