Saturday, June 4, 2011

.SS country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for Southern Sudan?

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The Southern Sudan has not even been declared a republic but there is already a muted debate raging beneath the surface in the internet community on what country code top level domain name, ccTLD the new nation will/should adopt.
South Sudan is a relatively young nation, with its tall friendly people living under a crushing poverty thanks to 25 years of warfare. That war set the clock backwards on everything. People are even questioning whether GOSS, the government of South Sudan, should even contemplate planning for its internet future when virtually everything else from health care, nutrition, education, basic infrastructure is in tatters?

I however believe that if something is inevitable, then it must be embraced. Southern Sudan is fortunate to have gotten its independence in the information age and internet is the inevitable so it must be embraced without excuses. Which brings me to the question of the new nation's country code top level domain name. Will ISO assign .SS as the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code for South Sudan which inevitably means the nation will apply to IANA to delegate .SS as its ccTLD? In an industry where people are obsessed with domain names and TLD extensions, I can't help imagining  names like gov.co.ss , homes.co.ss, germany.ss(no offence intended) and others that the innovative registrants will come up with.
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 But the process is not that simple. Before it's assigned the ISO 3166-1 South Sudan will have to be admitted to the UN whereby the Editorial, Terminology and Reference Service of the United Nations Documentation Division will enter the new state in “Country Names”—a pamphlet that lists in six languages the popular and formal names of full UN member nations. Thereafter, the ISO will convert the name South Sudan into the the dreaded two letter SS as its ISO-3166-1 alpha-2 code country code. It's from here that the new country will apply to IANA for the delegation of .SS as its country code Top Level domain name. So it could be awhile before we see .ss on the web.

Now should it be an issue if S.Sudan's ccTLD is .ss?  SS obviously does not have the same negative connotation to a South Sudanese as it does to a European who was a victim of Nazi crimes almost 70 years ago. Please let me know your views on this.