Could bt.com or x.com be deleted?

Well, you would hope not. There has been a general principle that if a policy change makes a domain name no longer valid, the domain can stay in existence as long as it is renewed.

There are .uk domains that pre-date nominet and exist in spite of current policies not allowing them and the same is true for many domain heirachies.

As far as I am aware it is current policy that one and two letter .com domains are not allowed, but there is x.com and bt.com still in use and many others.

However, to my surprise, we have been advised that one of our domains is to be deleted. The reason being that a policy now in place, after they were registered, says they are no longer valid. One of them is aa®.com.

So, I am trying to find out. Is this some change in policy or rules, or law, that means when domain names no longer meet current rules then they will be deleted?

Do people like BT need to be worried that bt.com will be deleted?

Or have we been singled out for special treatment by verisign & ICANN I wonder?

I'll try and get to the bottom of it. Needless to say the wording of the contract we have with teh rgeistrar does not seem to allow them to delete the domain by my reading. So it will be interesting to see what happens if that gets to court.

P.S. the two letter thing is what I have read on forums after much googling. Would be nice to know for sure if that is policy or not to allow two letter and one letter domains in .com. Maybe it is, and hence this is a non issue for x.com and bt.com. Even so, it is an issue if policy changes can cause existing domains to be deleted as seems to be happening to us.


  1. Firefox translates http://aa®.com to http://xn--aa-9da.com/ as an International Domain Name (IDN). I thought ICANN etc were trying to promote these now with the growth of China on the internet etc.

    Did they say which policy and/or reason they gave?

  2. They quoted RFC 5891, August 2010, which looks like a protocol related to IDNs used by the registrars. Not sure as not read it all.

  3. The implementation of IDNs in .com has been incompetent. They basically allowed a free-for-all, permitting domains using any unicode codepoints in any combination. As a consequence browsers show the punycode version of IDN .coms rather than the internationalized version. The alternative is to leave users open to IDN homograph attacks.

    I'm not sure that I can see any way for them to get out of this, other than be revoking (or refusing to renew) some existing .com domains.

    One alternative may be that IDNs will never work properly for .com. I'm not sure whether another alternative involving complicated validation for 'safety' by the browser (and every other bit of software that uses DNS) is possible, but that's still unlikely to let aa®.com be displayed properly in the URL bar of the browser.

    It may be that there are things not strictly 'in the rules' but are still 'safe' (including various weird symbols that are in unicode). However, that would require selective application of the rules, which in itself would probably be difficult.

    It's a mess. Other TLDs (including .org) got it right. .com got it wrong.

  4. What I have seen is that there was a lot of checking, and very few "fun" domains could be registered. I was quite surprised when we managed to register aa®.com

    My concern is that I was under the impression a domain was always safe once you had it. Domains that are now unacceptable but previously were have always been safe. If they are not then domains like bt.com could be in trouble as generally two letter domains are not allowed (I can't find the actual ICANN or verisign policy on this).

  5. ICANN 'reserved' all the single and two-letter second-level names (that weren't already allocated):


  6. Deutsche Bank, db.com, and Imperial College, ic.ac.uk, will also be in trouble then!

  7. ic.ac.uk is in the realm of Nominet, not ICANN. They can assign their own policy for their own TLDs/SLDs.


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