Welsh factions clash over .cymru and .wales bids
English cash required? Oh, cym on now
A grassroots move to create .cymru as a new top-level internet domain has hit a roadblock after the Welsh government backed a .wales bid managed by an English company.
Oxford-based Nominet, which runs the .uk registry, has been mulling a new Welsh extension for the last few months, according to director of finance Glenn Hayward.
But dotCYM, a small Wales-based organisation that has been campaigning for a Welsh internet extension with government backing, says ministers are now refusing to return its calls.
Compounding dotCYM's frustration, First Minister Carwyn Jones has publicly indicated that he prefers ".wales" to ".cymru", in order to appeal to businesses internationally.
The dispute emerged after global domain name overseer ICANN said in June that it will allow any organisation to apply for a new generic top-level domain (gTLD) early next year.
Many cities and regions have said they plan to bid. Nominet has already said it wants to apply for .london, for example, though it faces competition from other companies.
dotCYM has been campaigning for a Welsh gTLD for about five years, according to its technical director Maredudd ap Gwyndaf. The group originally intended to apply for .cym, but had to change its plans after realising that the string "CYM" was on one of ICANN's reserved names lists.
Because it would have been pronounced "dot cum", it also risked failing ICANN's confusing similarity test, due to the prevalence of existing .com domains.
But now it seems more likely that the Welsh government will throw its backing behind a .wales bid managed by Nominet from England, due to the high cost of applying.
ICANN's application fees start at $185,000, and earlier this month business minister Edwina Hart (Labour) said that the government would not fund a new Welsh gTLD bid.
It will, however, provide ICANN with the letter of support or non-objection that is required before the domain overseer will consider approving a geographic domain extension.
Nominet has confirmed it will self-fund its gTLD bid, and will donate excess profits to Wales-based community projects in much the same way as its Nominet Trust does with profits from .uk sales.
This may be the final nail in the coffin of the dotCYM initiative.
David versus Goliath
"As you can imagine it would be impossible for us to compete against a large, rich, well-connected company such as Nominet when there's no political will in Wales to ensure that the Welsh TLD is owned and run by the Welsh," dotCYM's ap Gwyndaf told El Reg.
Hart's predecessor, former Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru) had supported .cymru and granted dotCYM £20,000 in government seed funding in 2008.
"It's another embarrassing example of Wales lacking the confidence and understanding to run things themselves and running over the border for help," ap Gwyndaf said.
"We're a membership organisation," Nominet's Hayward said. "Within that membership we have over 100 members based in Wales and 300,000 .uk domains registered in Wales."
He said that Nominet does not know whether it will apply for .cymru or .wales.
"We don't see it as a decision for Nominet," he said. "It's something the Welsh government very much needs to take the lead on."
During First Minister's Questions on 8 November, Carwyn Jones was asked (in Welsh) if he would confirm his support for .cymru as opposed to .wales.
"No," Jones replied, according to the Welsh Assembly record. "It is exceptionally important that we secure the domain name that will give the best economic boost to Wales."
ICANN's application window is open between 12 January and 12 April next year. It could be many years before it starts a second application round.
Nominet currently has no plans to apply for a Scottish gTLD, according to Hayward, though there are other moves afoot to create a .scot space. ®
It's amongst the most pointless things in the known universe. Deciding who you are based on which side of an arbitrary line drawn on a map your mum gave birth. Furthermore, basing your identity on a single factor, in Wales case, a seperate language is just daft.
Well...2 factors if you count "Not English" as a factor.
You can't be proud to be Welsh as you had no say in the matter. It's like saying you're proud to have a head or you're proud to metabolise food. Same goes for proud to be English/white/black/gay/european/whatever. It's a ludicrous statement that people need to stop saying.
One of the Welsh independence arguments is that London is too far from Wales to understand...how does Berwick-upon-Tweed feel about the distance from London. In a pub in Conwy the other week a bloke was complaining that the assembly in Cardiff was too far away to understand the problems of North Wales...WTF???
I can't wait for the inevitable independence of the Welsh, just so we can see the North split from the South, then Anglesey declaring independence and so on until each house is an independent nation where people in the kitchen moan that the back bedroom is too far away to understand the problems inherent in kitchens.
Not picking on the Welsh in particular, everyone in every group is the same.
Why can't we forget all this stuff and just all get along? We all want the same thing, nice house, good health and a job that doesn't suck too much. Come on humanity, focus on our similarites not our differences.
Simple solution ... register both and require that
1) anyone registering a .wales domain must also register the equivalent .cymru domain
2) the .wales domain should contain all the site info in english
3) the .cymru domain must either (a) contain the same info as the .wales site but in welsh or (b) contain the message "Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i'w gyfieithu." on every page in place of the English text
Why not go for both? If they'll disallow .cym because it sounds like .com, get .cymru and .wales. Let the businesses decide. Hell, they could set up Welsh versions of their sites on .cymru and English versions on .wales if they wanted.