[At-Large] R: At-Large Use of Country and Territory Names as Top Level Domains

Roberto Gaetano roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 23 20:59:07 UTC 2015

Disclaimer: I have been working 8 solid years for a standardization
organization, so please understand that I am biased.

In the standardization community it is often said that standards are as good
as they are being used.
In other words, a little used standard is not worth much.
My question is: how much is the ISO-3166-3 used?

There might be some obscure (to the end user) applications, although
Elisabeth can prove me wrong, but I am under the impression that, while the
ISO-3166-2 are widely used (and therefore recognized), the ISO-3166-3 are
Who can name ISO-3166-3 applications?
About ISO-3166-2 I can name ccTLDs, IBAN, currencies (in the sense that the
3-letter currency code has the alpha-2 as its first 2 letters), and more.
But the alpha-3?
And that's exactly pointed out by Seun's "mistake" and Jaap's "correction".
The fact is that there are plenty of three-letters country codes, created by
different bodies. IOC is one, but FIFA also has its own, plus the
international car license plates, and many more.
Let's go for a few examples.
*	the Holy See, VA in ISO-3166-2, is VAT (yes, like Value Added Tax)
in ISO-3166-3, but SCV in license plates. They are not a member neither of
IOC nor FIFA (although I have learned to play football - soccer in North
America - in the neighborhood catholic parish), but God only knows what
their code would be in the sports environment. Now, to the point, ask any
person in Italy, and in Rome in particular, what a 3-letter code for the
Holy See would be, and I bet the answer would be SCV. Ask them what VAT
means, and you all can guess what the answer would be. So, what’s the point
in reserving VAT, that is widely used for something else, and not SCV, that
is recognized as belonging to the Holy See?
*	Angola, AO in alpha-2, AGO in alpha-3. Why on earth? Simply because
AN was taken by Dutch Antilles (now discontinued). The alpha-3 was mirrored
on alpha-2, and makes an equally incomprehensible (by the man in the street)
code. But their IOC and FIFA codes are ANG, and if I were to create a TLD to
pretend I am authoritative for Angola, I would obviously choose ANG, not
AGO. So to protect AGO is pointless.
*	Just take the time to browse the codes. Tell me which codes you
would use to “fake” a country’s authority. For Algeria, DYA or ALG? For
Denmark, DNK or DEN? For Ireland, IRL or EIR? What would you think about
“regional” accepted codes, some of which have become or are becoming gTLDs,
like CAT, SCO, etc. – should we “protect” them also, on top of the
ISO-3166-3 codes’
As ALAC, we should be concerned, IMHO, about avoiding “consumer confusion”.
To “protect” country codes that are by and large unused and unknown by
people – unless they happen to correspond to widely known codes like IOC or
FIFA or license plates, does not make a lot of sense to me.
If we have a moratorium on new gTLDs (not an endless one, but a time frame
that allows to have some serious thought about the shortcomings of the first
run) we can possibly have promotion/education activities related to gTLDs in
the areas (geographical, political, social, economic, and whatever else)
that were not well served in the first run.
I believe that in a couple of years countries would be sufficiently aware of
the issues to raise an objection to the use by a “rogue” party of a TLD that
they consider (rightfully or not – but that’s not ICANN’s role to decide)
“their” property.

> -----Messaggio originale-----
> Da: at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org [mailto:at-large-
> bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Per conto di Jaap Akkerhuis
> Inviato: mercoledì 23 settembre 2015 19:29
> A: Seun Ojedeji
> Cc: At-Large Worldwide
> Oggetto: Re: [At-Large] At-Large Use of Country and Territory Names as Top
> Level Domains
>  Seun Ojedeji writes:
>  > > If .NG is under ccNSO and .NGR under GNSO there is no guarantee that
> > > this would be the case. Could .NGR be run by a Registry based outside
> > Nigeria? Would this introduce competition to the local ccTLD? Would this
> > siphon money out of Nigeria rather than keeping it in the local economy?
> I cannot resist to remark that NGR is not an ISO 3166 alpha-3 code.
> Check the database at <https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/> for the code and
> notice it is actually NGA.
> 	jaap
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