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CNNIC cracking down on .cn domains

 8:00 am on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

According to the NetEase, Tech News Section [tech.163.com] (Chinese), CNNIC is cracking down heavily on .cn domain names that are used to host pornographic or illegal material. They began by suspending close to 700 domains.

Next, they posted new regulations [cnnic.net.cn] that forbid individual registrations. You now need to be a corporate entity and provide proper identification to apply.

I guess they learned their lesson after opening up .cn during the Olympics for ridiculously low prices.



 1:36 am on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

It appears the crackdown is having further consequences - CNNIC has now revoked the ability of overseas (non-Chinese) registrars from registering .cn domains with immediate effect:

Report: China Halts Overseas Registrars from Registering .CN Domains [domainnamewire.com] (Domain Name Wire)
(...) overseas registrars won't be able to register .CN domains "starting with January 6, 2010, 18:00 PM (Beijing Time). The registration stop is planned to be temporarily. According to the Chinese registry, difficulties in handling the comprehensive new application material are the reason for this drastic development. The new application material is required since the middle of December 2009, when CNNIC suddenly changed its registration policies."

From just one registrar's site: .CN domain creation suspension [iwi.gandibar.net]
After an initial change at the end of last year that surprised everyone in limiting purchase of these domains to companies only, the registry has just added a very clear and simple rule: in order to have stricter control over the domains that are sold, they simply and plainly forbid new registrations to registrars that are not Chinese!

Other major non-Chinese registrars such as Go Daddy have also removed the ability to register .cn domains from their sites.


 5:31 am on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, I have one rather nice .cn that is expiring in 2 months... I just tried to renew through my *non* Chinese registrar and it was disallowed.

I thought it was only new registrations being blocked, not renewals?


 6:26 am on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Canuck, unfortunately that's the risk you take with .cctlds, especially the non-western countries. You think you own them, until they change the rules. I own quite a few .cctlds but then I registered them through a legal local business. Even with that, i wish I had half of a protection a .com has. In a lot of countries we're talking about laws being made with the stroke of a pen. No debate, no court review, no appeals. I read about a hotel.cctld name that was taken in a court battle, 100% generic but go and fight it in third world country with local judges.

On topic, while China has censorship in mind as well, it makes sense to have local people register the names first and to control the use a bit. Some of the nastiest spammers and filthy sites are on a .cn (maybe because they were cheap?). They have a horrible reputation so China has some rights to do this.


 8:06 am on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics CNNIC was offering .CN domains for 1 Yuan [webmasterworld.com] which was equivalent to US $0.14. As these domains were nearly free you can imagine the sorts of people who picked these up en masse.


 2:51 pm on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Good move I think every country in the world should do the same thing. You don't own a domain unless you live there is IMO a good move..


 5:12 pm on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

It is a right move.

Every ccTLD should only be available for that country.


 9:34 pm on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

>> Every ccTLD should only be available for that country.

Yes, and the US gets .com :)


 1:23 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, to be fair, .com isn't a ccTLD. ;)

Every ccTLD should only be available for that country.

I'm not sure I agree with that in all cases. What about expats from that country living/working abroad? What about legitimate trademark holders who want to protect themselves internationally?

Opening up a ccTLD the way that China did with the .CN domain really opened a Pandora's box for them internationally. They wanted to tout the number of registrations during the Olympics to show the popularity of domain, but it really got out of control with the low prices when the spammers jumped in.


 1:56 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

CNNIC made some serious strategic errors in the past which cheapened the value of the .CN domain space. I'm Canadian, and I'm a strong supporter of the "Canadian presence requirements" for .ca domains (which incidentally account for both expats and trademark-holders) - so I agree with ccTLDs implementing registration rules which aim to conserve a strong correlation between the ccTLD and the country.

However, in this case the background is not just the issue of spammers and foreigners misusing .cn domains. The primary aim of the Chinese authorities is clearly to increase control of the ownership and content of sites in the .cn space. The new rules are everything to do with censorship, the spam issue is a diversion.


 2:36 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

The initial message put out about the opening of the second level .CN ccTLD was that they wanted Chinese people throughout the world to have access to this domain. A local presence requirement wouldn't work with that. They were trying to appeal to Chinese communities worldwide. Had they truly wanted to locally run and control this domain namespace from the beginning, then they had plenty of good examples from other nations they could have followed, like Canada. I still think they want this domain to be available globally, but they don't want the image of the name to be tarnished the way it has via spam.

I totally agree that this is a censorship issue as well, and that it will lead to more control of the content in the .CN space in the future. However, I think they were totally unprepared for what happened when they opened the floodgates. This is their way of taking a step back and doing some damage control. And you have to admit, the .CN domain namespace in its current form is damaged goods.


 8:13 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Bill, increasing the price for non-locals might be the way to go. $35 a year if you don't live in China. Take it or leave it. Spammers and those looking for 15 cent domains will move to another .cctld, maybe .info


 8:22 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

The campaign for super-cheap domains ended Dec. 31, 2008. The damage had been done by that point I'm afraid. Prices at most of my registrars recently was in the $30+ range already.


 10:30 am on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Effects of this are having some unexpected issues.

One multi-national I deal with which has a .cn domain (and a several offices in China) was removed from the CNNIC DNS servers and their domain has ceased to resolve since 6th January with the authorities requiring "additional back-up information for each registered domain.." as (I assume) they are a foreign entity, before they restore them.

No warning, no statement - just - zap!

And this is a big company with a major presence in China!

They do have the needed information and should be back up today, but it took a while for them to find out what to do.


 1:43 pm on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

This may hit the number of .cn domains registered. It had been competing with .de as the largest ccTLD in the world. However .cn seems to be a bit of a bubble extension with a a lot of disposable and speculative registrations.



 7:47 pm on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

This learns me to stay away from China and not to do business with that country. First you invest a lot of time, money and effort. Then they change the rules of the game without prior warning and you loose everyting ...


 8:00 pm on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of my spam filters deletes any email with '.cn' in the body - that is not from someone in my address book. It eliminates about 80% of my spam.
Would you want your country routinely blocked by the rest of the world? Thats online suicide for a nation. If I was the Chinese government I would take this step too.


 7:19 am on Jan 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

It says that .cn domains are stopped registration in China now.

Year 2010, China gov will take more effort to censor SITES.


 9:58 am on Jan 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure I agree with that in all cases. What about expats from that country living/working abroad?

As one I think this is important! There are lots of people in this position: 10% of British citizens, for example.

In addition, the people you want to deter with restrictions will find ways around it, unless you have really tight restrictions (like .lk for example) but that ends up blocking legitimate use as well.


 10:39 am on Jan 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

just renewed our .cn domain for another 2 years without any issues at a registrar in Gibraltar.


 7:20 pm on Jan 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

makemetop, the company you mentioned must have not got natives familiar with china internet business.
I am Chinese and I tell you they wouldn't cancel your domain name if only you submiteted additional back-up information(some tip for officier privitely better).This is right China.


 9:39 am on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

New Policy for CN Domain Registration by CNNIC:

The Notification about further enhancement of auditing domain name registration information [cnnic.net.cn]

[edited by: bill at 12:24 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2010]
[edit reason] linked to original CNNIC document [/edit]


 12:48 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

CNNIC New policy is an absolute farce!
What a clever way to obtain personal details of world citizens!The present diktatorship in China has long played "dirty".Offering our idiot CEO's attractive slave labor workers to move production , knowhow and the economy.
Now they will snatch 2 domains I have invested in for 2 years.With no compensation!Costing a heck of a lot more than 1 yuan!It's rubbish there is no innovation in monopolies.Or this sort of theiving protectionism.
One must eventually be kind to humans and fair in trasnaction.

Otherwise none of us are better than angry monkeys!


 3:18 pm on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I renewed one of my oldest .cn last week seemingly with no problem but I want to buy a new name which is available however whilst my registrar is renewing .cn they are not allowing new registrations at the moment.

I have found a couple of registrars offering .cn however I thought this issue was going to be resolved by/after the Chinese New Year?

Does anyone have any new information?


 12:39 am on Mar 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

As soon as I heard the news about this I renewed all my .cn domains. Renewal was no problem.

New registrations are still up in the air at my registrars. CNNIC hasn't posted any new news in English since December, so it's possible they're still working on a system to handle the registration information that now seems to be required.


 8:35 am on Mar 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder how the new rules will affect the tens of thousands of domains selling fake copies of western designer goods, fakes that are made in China?


 8:55 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just renewed my .cn domain. There's an audit form for new .cns that requires a Chinese ID number and company name.

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