ⓘ .cat


ⓘ .cat

.cat 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 Fundacio puntCAT. It was approved in September 2005.


1. History

Before.cat was available, and given the reluctance of certain Catalan institutions, companies, and people, to use.es.ad.fr.it domains depending on the state respectively for their domains, alternatives emerged. An example of this was the website for the city of Girona in Catalonia, which preferred to use a.gi domain ", the word "ajuntament" meaning both "city council" and "town hall", even though.gi is the country code for Gibraltar, instead of the corresponding.es as a Spanish local authority.

To solve this matter, in September 2005 the.cat TLD was approved, designed to meet the wishes and needs of the Catalan linguistic and cultural community on the Internet. This community is made up of those who use Catalan for their online communications, and/or promote the different aspects of Catalan culture online and prefer it to any other domain. The initial registration period went from February 13, 2006, to April 21, 2006. The registry was open to everybody starting April 23, 2006.

In September 2017 a Spanish court ordered that all.cat domain names that were being used to promote the Catalan independence referendum shall be taken down. On September 20 the Spanish police raided the offices of puntCAT and arrested CTO Pep Masoliver for sedition. Following this, puntCAT released several tweets and a press statement on their website that condemned this action, calling it "shameful and degrading, unworthy of a civilized country immensely disproportionate".

On October 31, 2017 several Catalan Government websites including president.cat, govern.cat and catalangovernment.eu were taken down due to the political crisis in Catalonia and due to the take over of authority by the Government of Spain.


2. Restrictions

The.cat domain is not territorial, but applies to the whole Catalan-speaking community, whether or not a site is based in Catalonia. In order to be granted a.cat domain, one needs to belong to the Catalan linguistic and cultural community on the Internet. A person, organization or company is considered to belong if they either:

  • 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.
  • already have content in Catalan published online.
  • are endorsed by 3 people or 1 institution already using a.cat domain name.

Despite the restrictions, the domain has been exploited for feline-related domain hacks, such as nyan.cat. In September 2017, with the domains filters weakened after the raid by Spanish police, American neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer was briefly hosted on a.cat address.


3. Impact

Following the success of the.cat domain, other language and culture-based domain names have emerged, such as.eus and.gal for the Basque language and culture Euskadi and the Galician language and culture Galicia, respectively, as well as the.bzh domain-name dedicated to the Breton language and culture in Brittany.

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