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ICANN approves the .cat (Catalan) domain. What’s next?

After some deliberation, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has finally approved the .cat domain, which although not always openly discussed, is causing a bit of a stir in other regions of Spain. The .cat domain—not to be confused with .ct, which would be a regional domain for Catalunya—is a new domain specifically for websites in the Catalan language.

This domain is first on a global level to represent a cultural and linguistic group, an exceptional event, which the Catalan culture can be legitimately proud of”, stated the PuntCat association, a promotional organization, in an official press release on its Web site.

While this news seems like giant leap forward for the web’s multicultural makeup, there is of course, an interesting twist. Internationalized domains are stirring up a heated debate. There are other regions in Spain that speak their own languages, other than Spanish, take Euskara (Basque Country) or Gallego (Galicia) for instance. Galicia, who has its own nationalist feelings, has been claiming rights to a similar linguistic/cultural domain. In fact, about 2 weeks ago the National Galician Block (BNG) party accused the national government of not supporting demands of their own domain which, according to Francisco Rodriguez of BNG, “contributes to a symbolic-cultural and linguistic space necessary to exist in a globalized world.” He also added that the Galician language needs to receive recognition to help Galician internet users identify.

According to the latest news releases, now that the .cat domain has been approved, the Galician government as already petitioned for their own domain.

The question is of course: This was Spain, now what’s next? Of course deeming important our cultural diversity is definitely a good thing. But are we going to see all groups who identify as having their own unique culture or language rewarded with a unique domain as a sign of recognition?


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5 Responses to ICANN approves the .cat (Catalan) domain. What’s next?

  1. […] should have some freedom of registration beyond geographical borders. While ICANN is allowing the domain name process to diverge on cultural grounds, the Guadelopean’s look to that as a factor for inclusion. They may just have a […]

  2. […] for Catalunya, has caused quite a bit of commotion coming from a number of angles. So after the first .cat story, it’s only in due hand that a follow up story be written for those of you with peaked […]

  3. […] be slightly outdated, but it is nonetheless worth mentioning. On September 16th, I wrote about ICANN’s approval of the .cat top level domain (TLD). It was certainly a big deal. The decision to open way to so called “cultural and/or […]

  4. Marina Zaliznyak says:


    Believe me, I’m well aware of the fact that Catalan is in fact not a minority language and has a large presence on the internet.

    However, I do have my reasons for being concerned about the approval of such a domain, as it has some serious implications. Should all cultural and linguistic groups receive their own domains?

    And when you say “of course, all nations without its own state should be able to have his own domain.” What exactly do you mean? Catalunya does not have a state, or rather is not part of a country? In saying that, naturally we would be entering into a political debate. A debate that is already quite heated in Spain and exactly the reason that ICANN’s approval of the .cat opened the pandora’s box. both given the political climate in Spain and for the rest of the world, as it has now set a precedent to other such groups. Especially, if you take a look at PuntoCat’s application in the Country section (see a fllow up story: http://blog.webcertain.com/more-commotion-around-the-cat-domain-its-not-just-a-spanish-issue-anymore/20/09/2005/)
    the country PuntoCat listed was Catalonia. I hope you can see where this enters in some serious political ground.

    On the other hand, I will say that PuntoCat did present some very good arguments that I do agree with. However, I’m just concerned about what this means for the future.

  5. Xavier says:

    Of course, all nations without its own state should be able to have his own domain. But why Catalans are the first getting it? … well, Catalan language has more speakers than half of the languages with official status in the European Union, Catalan is between the 20-25 first languages in number of pages in Internet, … and after all they reported good reasons to have the .cat approved by ICANN.

    But I do not know why I am explaining that, I guess that the reason of your comments is not ignorance, I guess you underestimate minority nations and cultures, if not, why your comments are not as follows:

    If .museum was approved, why not for other cultural equipment, for example, .cinema, .theatre, .opera, billiarsalloon, etc

    If .travel approved, why not other business as .bank, .pharmacie, etc or activities .sing, etc

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