Happy Birthday, dot ca!
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the dot-CA domain name for Canada. On Monday May 14th, twenty five years ago, the management of the dot-CA country code domain name was officially delegated by Jon Postel, operator of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA); to Canadian Internet pioneer and Webnames.ca co-founder John Demco.
The most recognizable symbol of Canadian identity on the Internet, dot-CA was conceived in 1987 and for 13 years, Demco, former Computing Facilities Manager, with the assistance of a group of dedicated volunteers, managed the dot-CA domain space, allocating and administering dot-CA domain names at no charge to users on a voluntary basis.
Dot CA domain names were assigned and registered by Demco and the .CA volunteer organization housed at the University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC provided the technical and administrative resources to house and operate the registry.
By 2000, more than 100,000 dot-CA domain names had been registered under Demko’s watch, exceeding the capacity of a volunteer undertaking.
Today, there are nearly 2 million dot ca domain names registered.
“In the very early days of .CA, it wasn't apparent that the registry would grow so quickly,” said Demco, “However, by the late 1980's the academic and research networks had begun to grow rapidly, even though the absolute numbers weren't yet large. With the introduction of the web and commercialization, things really took off.”
The Framework for the administration of the .CA domain name system laid the foundation for the transition of the .CA registry from UBC and the creation of CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.
CIRA was incorporated in December 1998 and became the official .CA registry on December 1, 2000. It operates with a 15-person Board of Directors; twelve are elected by CIRA Members and three are ex-officio Directors with non-voting positions. The ex-officio Directors include CIRA’s President and CEO, a representative of the Government of Canada, and Demco.
In December 2000, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), a not-for-profit corporation took over operation of dot-CA.
Since that time CIRA has accredited more than 90 registrars (including Webnames.ca) to act as retailers of dot-CA domains to the Canadian public, providing dot ca domain name registration and related services..
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary managing the .CA Registry in December 2010, CIRA noted at that time some 1.5 million dot ca domain names had been registered.
The domain name industry, a novel and unique business that did not even exist a generation ago, was launched on March 15, 1985, when the first commercial Internet domain name, symbolics.com, was registered by Symbolics Inc., a computer systems company from Cambridge, MA.
Since then, the industry has become a global marketplace worth billions of dollars every year. With more than 214 million domain names now registered, and nearly a million new names registered every week, this is a dynamic and still-growing sector of the modern economy, one also flavoured with national pride and identity.
“Canadians prefer to do business with fellow Canadians and support the local economy,” noted Webnames.ca President and Co-Founder, Cybele Negris. “Dot-CA shows website visitors that they are shopping locally, will pay in Canadian funds and receive product shipped from within the country. May 14th is a special day and we should all celebrate the success of the Canadian Internet. I’m proud to have been involved with John and the transition of dot-CA to CIRA back in 1999/2000 and I look forward to see what the next 25 years will bring.”
“One never knows what might happen, especially in an environment as dynamic as the Internet. However, dot-CA has been performing well since its inception, and particularly well during the past few years, and we can look forward to continued strong growth,” Demco predicts. “There is also ample room to grow. The dot-CA domain will soon surpass 2 million registrations, but it should be kept in mind that the dot-COM domain has approximately 100 million. Thus although dot-CA has grown rapidly there are many, many excellent names available.”
Webnames.ca Inc. is a Canadian Internet solutions company. Webnames.ca's services include web hosting, email, a full range of domain names, managed and reseller services and website design.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is the not-for-profit Canadian corporation responsible for operating Canada's dot-CA Internet country code Top Level Domain. With over 1,913,650 dot-CA domain names registered to individuals, companies and government agencies, Canada's dot-CA Internet domain has quickly become a critical part of Canada's Internet infrastructure.