There are currently 186 million registered domain names in the world, with demand continuing to grow. It was in this context that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched a process to create new top-level internet extensions (such as .com, .org and .net), just over a year ago.
Over the course of the next few years, the internet could well see the appearance of hundreds of new extensions based on geography (.paris, .berlin, .africa, etc.), culture and linguistics (.cym, .gal, .indigi, etc.) or topics (.eco, .food, .sport, etc.).
In June 2008, the Ville de Paris announced its intention to bid for the .paris domain extension. In order to comply with the various technical specifications required in order to manage a top-level internet extension, and laid down by ICANN as part of the application procedure, the Ville de Paris found it necessary to enlist the services of a technical operator.
It therefore decided to tap into the alliance that is AFNIC and CORE, managers of .fr and .cat respectively. (Launched in 2005, the latter extension aims to promote Catalan culture.) This Franco-Swiss alliance will firstly be responsible for ensuring that the bid complies with the various technical specifications laid down by ICANN. It will then become the official operator of the .paris extension on behalf of the Ville de Paris, under a service concession arrangement.
Why .paris ?
There are many reasons why users will be keen to register a .paris domain name :
for private individuals, associations and certain institutions, a .paris website will demonstrate their affiliation with the Parisian community ;
for service providers, whether trading, non trading, commercial or cultural, a .paris domain name is evidence of close ties with the city, which can only strengthen their on-line presence ;
for major brands and trademark owners, a .paris domain name could provide additional leverage to promote their image, particularly in the tourism, restaurant, fashion and luxury sectors, etc.
ICANN is accepting applications at the end of the first half of 2010. These will then be examined during the course of the year. Assuming that this schedule is adhered to, the .paris domain name extension could be launched at the beginning of 2011.
Mathieu Weill, Managing Director of AFNIC :
“AFNIC and CORE have opted to join forces in order to ensure the success of the .paris project and to place it at the heart of digital economy development. With the .paris project, we are hoping to promote the emergence of innovative internet uses and services.�?
(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération )
Non-profit organization, AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service Providers (Registrars).
CORE Internet Council of Registrars is a not-for-profit organisation governed by Swiss law and based in Geneva. It develops, manages and promotes resources designed to facilitate domain name registration, particularly for the launch of new extensions. The association is currently responsible for the technical management of the .cat and .museum extensions. Its members are domain name registrars located in various countries.
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.