Cayman wins ‘cym’ internet domain address

| 04/11/2010

(BBC): A four-year campaign to secure a ".cym" internet address for Wales has been lost to the Cayman Islands. DotCYM project leaders in Aberystwyth a west coast university town said it was disappointing, but they still plan to bid for a Welsh version of the .com or domain. They are appealing for new suggestions and said .cymru (the Welsh language word for Wales) could be used instead. An internet expert said it was "more complex" for nations like Wales to secure their own domain names. Cayman already has its own internet domain .ky, but is also registered to use .cym. DotCYM managing director Siôn Jobbins, from Aberystwyth, has asked supporters to come up with new suggestions. “Not being able to use .cym is a shame, but it’s not a problem," he said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

     Why not .cay


    CYM is lame.



  2. Dave Archbold says:

    From all the comments, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about this issue.  I’ll try to make it clearer for the few that may be interested.  There are two types of internet domains.

    generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) like .com .org .info .aero etc have three or more letters in their suffix and are not tied to any particular country.  The Registries that run these domains have a commercial contract with ICANN and are licensed by them.

    country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) like .ky .ca .us and .uk have two letter suffixes and each one (and only one) is allocated to a specific country or territory.  ccTLDs do NOT have a commercial contract with ICANN and are subject to the laws and regulations of the country involved.

    Two and three letter codes for every United Nations recognized country or territory in the world was first published in 1974 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)in ISO 3166. This was long before the advent of the commercial internet.  The ISO continues to keep the list up to date, but which countries and territories are included (and which are not) is decided by the United Nations.  ISO 3166 codes have many applications that have nothing to do with the internet.

    In the 1990s, when the internet was spreading outside the US, it was decided to use the two letter codes from ISO 3166 as the suffix for all ccTLDs.  That way, it was left to the United Nations to decide which countries and territories were (and are) eligible for there own ccTLD.  The UN has decided that the Cayman Islands and all the other UK Dependent Territories are eligible but that Wales is not.  I don’t know why.  Ask the UN!

    Much more recently, ICANN decided that it would remove the restriction on the number of gTLDs (that’s the commercial ones) that it was prepared to license.  However all new applicants have to satisfy detailed business and technical criteria, and the suffix they wish to use must meet certain standards.  They also have to pay an application fee which is a minimum of US$185,000.

    Rules about the names of the new domains primary centre around protecting existing trade marks, avoiding public confusion and protecting the names of countries and territories.  The aim of the latter rule is to prevent a commercial organisation in, say, Russia from applying for a domain called .canada without the approval of the Canadian Government.  Another rule is that the suffix must not use the 2 letter country codes from ISO 3166 to avoid confusion  with existing ccTLDs. In fact the new domains suffixes must be at least three letters.

    In May of this year, ICANN decided to add a rule that, at least for this round of applications, no one can apply for a domain that consisted of a three letter country code from ISO 3166.  This rules out the use of .cym by anyone, including the Cayman Islands.  It is suggested that even if this rule is relaxed in the future, applicants will have to have a close relationship with the country whose three letter code it is and the application will have to have the full support of that country’s government.

    In summary, therefore,

    (a)  the .ky domain will never be replaced by a .cym domain.

    (b)  Currently, no one can apply for a .cym domain.

    (c)  At some time inthe future, it may be possible for a commercial organisation closely associated with Cayman and having Cayman government approval, to apply for a .cym domain, but this would be in addition to the .ky domain.  They would be different kinds of domain is a ccTLD, .cym would be a gTLD.

    Incidentally, international licence plate country code on cars come from an entirely different list maintained by the United Nations as the Distinguishing Signs of Vehicles in International Traffic. 

    Wales is not on that list.  The use of CYM is entirely unofficial.

    • caymanheretic says:

      I suspect the UN think that Wales should be .wal or .wls such is the hegemony of the English language. The point is welsh for wales is cymru (pronounced come-ree and welsh for welsh is cymraeg pronounced come-rye-g) The Welsh should have it!

      It is as obvious as .us and .uk besides which Cayman uses .ky

  3. Jules Rimet says:

    How funny.  Two places that aren’t countries fighting over a domain name.  And it is so hard to pronounce.  How do you say "cym", whatever way I try "cym" seems funny in my mouth.

    CNS: The country called Wales is part of the United Kingdom, which is a sovereign state.

    • Jules Rimet says:

      Exactly my point, CNS.  Neither Wales nor Cayman are countries.

      • Anonymous says:

        So England is not a country then?

        • Sue Verein says:

          No it is not.  It is a region of the UK.

          • caymanheretic says:

            do not be so ridiculous.

            England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all countries in an alliance of nations known as Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

            Wales has its own political assembly – both Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments.

            a region of England is an area within England like the Cotswolds

            • Sue Verein says:

              Where is England’s seat at the UN then?

              The only meaningful test is the "seat at the UN test".

            • Anonymous says:

              GB and the UK are not the same thing. It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but not part of GB.

          • Anonymous says:

            correct, the country is the UK

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS – have you actually read this? I’m sure we all have opinions about Cym in our mouths, not necessarily a point for dsiscussion here!

  4. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    It is great to hear that the Cayman Islands was able to keep the .cym domain.

  5. Loopy Lou says:

    Why use "ky" or "cym" when "2×4" is the official moniker?

  6. Kelv says:

    Whoever decided that the three-letter code for the Cayman Islands should be CYM and not CAY?  It seems only fair that Cymru should get first choice of CYM.  After all, cars in Wales have displayed CYM stickers and number plates for decades.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lime moved away from CANDW.KY because that belongs to Cable and Wireless.

  8. Dave Archbold says:

    This BBC News article (and similar ones based, I think,on a release from Wales) does not give the full story, perhaps because it is a bit too technical.  Two and three letter codes for every country in the world have for many years been defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)in ISO 3166.  The codes for the Cayman Islands are KY and CYM respectively.  The two letter codes have been adopted by the internet community for use by country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) which is why all our domains end in .ky.  However, the three letter codes are used for many other purposes.  For example, both the United Nations and the International Telecommunications Union use "CYM" to represent the Cayman Islands in their publications and databases, including the Maritime Access and Retrieval System (MARS) which records search and rescue data for every country’s ships.  In addition, web developers are free to use either the two or three letter codes to record country names in their databases.  Although end-users see only the full country name, many sites use the three letter codes behind the scenes.  There is therefore concern that use of the ISO three letter codes by anyone other than the ISO allocated country could cause confusion and perhaps even technical problems. Presumably for these reasons, ICANN (the organisation responsible for approving new domains) has recently stated that it will not accept applications for new domains that make use of ANY of the ISO three letter codes.  This rule was not specific to Cayman or CYM. It is on page 63 of  <a href=""&gt; ICANN’s Application Handbook</a>.  This decision was taken by ICANN in May 2010.  It would appear that the supporters of .cym have only now decided to give up their "battle" with ICANN (not Cayman).

    • Anonymous says:

      Very Interesting. So it was ICANN that ultimately delegated it to Cayman.  Did you have to put up a great fight to get it David or did it just sort of happen on it’s own due to the three-letter ISO designation?  Will there be a per-name ICANN fee for the three letter’s or will they also be exempt as a CCTld? 

  9. Anonymous says:

    This makes a lot of sense. for those who may be unaware, ky is also a long standing issue and conflict for the state of kentucky in the US of which many american businesses based on that state also uses that domain. This is also confusing and therefore using something like cym would help that situation. in the long term this would be a good switch to make. 

    • Anonymous says:

      While we are it, why on earth was our postal-code developed to include KY as the prefix? The use of KY etc also causes confusion with the USA state of Kentucky.

      Surely it would have made more sense to use CYM or CAY as the prefix for the Cayman Islands’ postal code.


  10. Some Guy From The Internet says:

    HEY we can sell it to Wales for a profit !

    This place needs all the $$$$ it can get 🙂

    And why are local companies still using as an address? the .com is not necessary – get a .ky domain, look professional.The process for a business in Cayman to get a .ky is easy and free the last time I did it….





  11. I kill me says:

    Let the Welsh have ".taff" then. Or has someone in these islands gone after that one too? 

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think this is ridiculous – Land of the Welsh = Cymru. Another pointless waste of money for Cayman?

    • Anonymous - Part I says:

      The domain name is Cym, not Cymru. People think that "Ky" is Kentucky.   

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why the heck do we need ".cym" just as everyone has become familiar with ".ky" as being associated with the Cayman islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      Then LIME went over to Google gmail.

    • Anonymous - Part I says:

      ".ky" is sometimes thought to mean Kentucky.

    • caymanheretic says:

      i agree no matter what code books define – whatever – ky belongs to kentucky, cym belongs to cymru (wales) and cay belongs to cayman or even ci!?!