Government and Policy

Individuals may get '.cn' names again

By Chen Limin and Wang Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-19 07:59
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The Chinese industry regulator is considering reopening ".cn" domain name registration for individual applicants.

The service was banned last month during a government-led Internet supervision campaign.

An official from Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) told China Daily yesterday that the semi-official organization is drafting a regulation to allow individuals to register ".cn" domain names with their own identity.

"It's a trend that individuals register their own domain names," said Qi Lin, assistant deputy from CNNIC.

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"We are now working to check whether individual registrars' information is true, complete and accurate, and based on this we can quicken our speed in drawing up the regulation on individual domain name registration."

The move came after CNNIC last month barred individuals from registering ".cn" domain names and required an applicant to have an enterprise license.

That has pushed many Chinese individual applications to register with foreign domain.

"Banning domain name registrations for individual applicants will have a negative impact on the industry because the applicants can either turn to foreign registers or apply with false information," Qi said.

But he refused to disclose when the new regulation would be rolled out.

CNNIC announced a ban on individual domain name registration after China Central Television aired a program last month claiming that many ".cn" websites provided pornographic content.

The program said CNNIC, one of China's largest domain name registers, should be responsible for the problem.

Wu Xiaofei, a teacher who registered two ".com" websites earlier this month, complained yesterday that ".cn" domain registration became very troublesome after CNNIC changed the registration policy.

"I have to hand in a lot of material if I register a ".cn" domain name, but I can have a ".com" domain name by providing just my e-mail address and paying the agent about 40 yuan, which is more convenient."

Since CNNIC brought in a regulation in 2007 that allowed individuals to register their site at a very low cost, ".cn" domain name registrations became extremely popular in China. Media reports on individual domain name owners selling their domain names to corporate firms at a high price also made many people regard domain name registration as a serious investment.

According to CNNIC figures, ".cn" domain names in China reached 13.6 million by the end of 2008, a year-on-year increase of 61 percent. But the number dropped slightly to 13.5 million last year, partly due to the global economic slowdown.

China launched a crackdown on online pornography last year, with nearly 9,000 pornographic websites shut down by the year end.