I saw a full page ad in a travel magazine a few weeks ago for the website VisitNicaragua.us.
It was a very nice full color ad which promoted the country as a great tourist destination.
The domain name is registered to the Nicaraguan Tourism Board and whose registered address on the whois records is in Nicaragua
My first thought that it is stupid domain for the official travel site of a country to use domain name in the ccTLD of other country.
After all .US is the ccTLD for the United States and as a foreign country why wouldn’t you use the extension of your own country or a relevant gTLD for you site? For example the domain name VisitNicaragua.travel is unregistered as the time of publication.
Then is realized that Neustar which operates the .US registry under a license from the United States Government is suppose to enforce the nexus requirement for owning a .US domain name.
Under .US nexus requirements .US domains may be registered only by the following qualified entities:
- Any United States citizen or resident,
- Any United States entity, such as organizations or corporations,
- Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the United States
The domain name was registered over 3 years ago in April 2014 and is use as the official tourism site for the country seems to be backed by a big ad spend.
In other words VisitNicaragua.us is not a mom and pop site that no one is every going to notice.
Now theoretically the site could fall into the third category: Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the United States
However the address on the whois record is does not indicate a US presence:
Nicaraguan Tourism Board Registrant Address1: Hotel Crowne Plaza, 1c Sur, 1c. Oeste. Registrant Address2: Address (continued) Registrant City: Managua Registrant State/Province: Managua Registrant Postal Code: 999999999 Registrant Country: Nicaragua Registrant Country Code: NI Registrant Phone Number: +505.22545191
You would think that if a foreign company tries to qualify for a .US domain name needing a bona fide presence in the United States they would place an address on the whois record that would proof the bona fide presence.
Neustar is the same company that is going to operate the .NYC extension and announced a very strict nexus policy for registrants of .NYC new gTLD domain names:
1. Registrants in .nyc must be either:
a. A natural person whose primary place of domicile is a valid physical address in the City of New York (“Nexus Category 1”); or
b. An entity or organization that has a physical street address in the City of New York (“Nexus Category 2”).
2. The existence of a P.O. Box address in the City of New York shall not qualify for purposes of meeting the Nexus Policy.
3. Registrants must agree in their Agreement with their Registrar and/or Reseller, as applicable, that they are in compliance with all relevant Federal, New York State and New York City laws, including the tax requirements for conducting business via the Internet.
4. Registrants must remain in compliance with the applicable Nexus Category for the entire period of such domain name’s registration by the registrant.
5. Registrars shall require that all registrants certify that they satisfy the Nexus Policy.
6. Registrants may not license, sub-delegate or otherwise transfer .nyc domain names to third parties that otherwise fail to meet the requirements of this Nexus Policy.””
Representative of Neustar are even on the record say not privacy or proxy services will be allowed for .NYC domain name registrants .
Neustar promises that they will not only verify that the Nexus requirements are met on .NYC registration but will continuous monitor registrations to make sure the nexus requirements are continued to be met and have threaten to simply take domain names away from registrants that don’t meet the nexus requirements.
It will be interesting to see what happens if say the city of Boston launches its official tourism site on a .NYC domain and takes out a full page ad in the New York Times to advertise the website.