Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Internet Kills Off Yugoslavia

ICANN (or more formally The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the folks who regulate the usage of names and domains on the Internet) is pulling the plug on the domain ".yu", thus ending one of the last remaining vestiges of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

ICANN stopped accepting registrations to the ".yu" domain in 2006, but as of September 30, they will officially stop the use of the domain, meaning the 4,000 or so sites still ending in ".yu" will go dark. The Republic of Yugoslavia officially ended in 2006 when its last two republics, Serbia and Montenegro parted ways. According to ICANN, since Yugoslavia no longer exists, there's no need for ".yu" websites and that those pages that still exist should transition to ".rs" or ".me", the respective domains for Serbia and Montenegro.

This isn't the first time ICANN has phased-out a domain for a country that no longer exists, Czechoslovakia (.cs) and East Germany (.dd) both have had their former domains retired. But there is one Cold War relic still going strong on the Internet - ".su", the domain assigned to the Soviet Union. ICANN hoped to rid the Internet of ".su" as well, but so far haven't been able to. In fact in 2008 Russia began accepting new registrations for the domain, even though the Union it represented has been gone for nearly two decades.

As of August 2009, there were more than 80,000 sites registered under the ".su" domain, while a search on Google for pages within ".su" turned up more than eight million hits.
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