Why are .com.cy domain names so regulated?

Regulation and bureaucracy is strangling Cyprus domain names

Why is it that Cypriot web site domain names – .com.cy – regulated so stringently?

If most of the rest of the world is happy to freely issue web site domain names, why can’t that be the case in Cyprus?

Cyprus is proud of being Cypriot – and Cypriots like to buy from people they know and trust.

There are strong indications that internet shopping would take off much faster in Cyprus if Cypriots felt they were buying from Cypriot companies. And a great way of establishing this is by using a .com.cy web site domain name.

Regulation by the University of Cyprus

The background to the regulation of .com.cy web site domain names is the University of Cyprus is the official registrar for all .com.cy domains and does this as a service to the internet community in Cyprus.

They provide this service on a not-for-profit basis – though they do charge €168 per annum for the license to use a .com.cy domain name.

The result is some serious issues with getting and using .com.cy web site domain names. These issues are threefold – control, time and cost.

Control

To register a .com.cy web site domain name you have to be either an individual or an organisation. If an individual, your application must include a copy of your identity card or passport. If an organisation, your application must include a copy of the registration certificate or a letter with the company’s trademark logo requesting the domain name.

Also be aware that .com.cy domain names can only be registered to Cyprus registered companies and to Cyprus permanent residents.

Given that it’s perfectly normal to have a number of domains pointing at one web site to handle mis-spellings, obvious variations in a name and the like – this is a serious limitation.

It’s also a problem when an individual wants to run a number of web businesses. Whilst in theory they’ll all be registered companies – a registered company may have several trading brands under which it operates. The limitation of ten web site domain names per company severely impacts this type of entrepreneurial behaviour.

The actual domain name itself is also regulated. Broadly it can’t contain foul language, can’t relate to ‘politicians or political activities’, can’t be a ‘generic, sectoral or a fundamental name’ and it can’t be a geographic name.

Those regulations can get in the way of being creative. In the UK, B&Q had an early insight into how internet shopping would grow, and their domain is www.diy.com. Given ‘diy’ could be said to be a sectoral name, would they be precluded from using www.diy.com.cy in Cyprus?

Time

The second issue is of time. Want to register a .com web site domain name? Easy – it can be done in under five minutes, online. You can have a new web site up and trading later today.

Want to register a .com.cy – it takes about three weeks and a lot of form filling.

Cost

The final issue is cost. Registering and maintaining a .com costs under $10 per year.

Check out registering a .com.cy and you find it costs from $199 for a year – right up to a whopping $600 a year. That’s cruelly expensive – and a big driver of the cost is the €168 going to the University of Cyprus.

The effect of all this will be to continue to minimise the use of .com.cy web site domain names until this regulation is softened. And the majority of web entrepreneurs operating in Cyprus will continue to have .com web sites. And Cypriots will continue to treat internet shopping with caution.

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