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No New TLD Applicants For .Cat, It Already Exists: Meet the Cultural Community of Catalan

August 14, 2012

ICANN haz dot cat?

ICANN haz dot cat?

You learn something new every day as the old saying goes, and that is certainly true of being involved in the domain industry.

Today I learned about the .Cat top-level domain.  Nope, this is not a new string awaiting approval under ICANN’s new gTLD program.  This is a bonafide TLD that has been around since 2005.


.cat (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈpun ˈkat]) is a sponsored top-level domain intended to be used to highlight the Catalan language and culture. Its policy has been developed by ICANN and Fundació puntCAT. It was approved in September 2005.

For more on the Catalan language including a veritable laundry list of regions, communities, microstates, cities, and islands in Southern Europe where Catalan is officially and unofficially spoken, you can read up on the Wikipedia entry.

Apparently the Catalan community had never been too keen in adopting the local ccTLDs of their respective countries such as .es (Spain) .ad (Andorra) .fr (France) .it (Italy) and .gi (Gibraltar), which is why .cat came into existence.

While there are no residency or geographic restrictions required, not just anyone can be granted a .cat domain. Registrants must show that they “belong to the Catalan linguistic and cultural community on the Internet”, in as far as you must either … puntcat logo

  • already have content in Catalan published online
  • have access to a special code (sometimes called ENS), issued during special promotions or by agreements with certain institutions
  • develop activities (in any language) to promote the Catalan culture and language
  • are endorsed by 3 people or 1 institution already using a .cat domain name

If the thought of domain hacks jumped into your mind when you first read .cat, no need to search as I have already checked and all of the obvious ones are taken including lol.cat, pussy.cat, and wild.cat.

There’s also a website up at nyan.cat (be sure your speakers are not cranked up). I had no idea what ‘nyan cat’ was before writing this article, so that was another new one for me. Apparently it was a raging internet meme and the fifth most watched YouTube video of last year.

On a final note, the actual region of Catalonia has applied for a separate gTLD string .catalonia. From quickly reviewing the application it’s unclear whether or not there is overlap on intended use/purpose, or whether the existence of .cat could affect the decision to approve .catalonia.

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