According to the Barcelona City Council, the .bcn domain is a second-level extension that will enable companies and institutions of Catalan society (notably those based in Catalonia), or entities and individuals with links with the territory of the region, to create their own website address.
How can I register a .bcn domain?
Companies and institutions that meet the criteria set out by the registry can apply for a .bcn domain in their home country in the same way they would any other website name.
Once you have registered your .bcn domain, you can create your web address with this new suffix in place of the traditional "www".
For example, if your address is http://www.companyname.es, you will be able to access your website using the address www.companynamebcn.es instead.
The .bcn domain name will become available once it has been approved by the ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is responsible for regulating global internet security.
What is ICANN?
ICANN was created as a non-profit organization based in California (USA) with the mission of overseeing and managing internet security around the world.
It is responsible for ensuring that the global network works efficiently and for preventing any one party from taking control.
To gain approval to use the suffix .bcn, companies must meet set criteria which are being established by the registry in conjunction with ICANN.
These rules have not yet been made available to the public but will be published once they have been confirmed by both parties.
What is a registry?
Registries are responsible for regulating the .bcn suffix and the rules that govern it, as well as making sure that those applying to use this domain meet the necessary criteria.
The registry for this suffix will be created by the Barcelona City Council.
The objective of this new website address is to give companies within or with links to Catalonia greater visibility on the internet.
The .bcn suffix will be awarded to companies that are registered in or have their headquarters in Catalonia, as well as those that create content related to the territory, such as tourism sites.
There are also plans for it to be used by Catalan sports clubs' fan websites.
Does having a .bcn domain guarantee greater visibility?
No. The .bcn suffix will give companies greater exposure on the internet, but it is not compulsory to have one. Being awarded a website address with this suffix does not mean that sites are given priority over those that do not offer it.
What is a "second-level" domain?
The majority of internet address suffixes, such as those ending in ".com", ".org" or ".net", are known as first-level domains, which usually correspond to countries (.es, .org) or generic terms (.com).
However, it is also possible to have second-level domains that are specific or linked to a city or local area.
For example, Barcelona football club uses the second level domain ".fcb" which replaces "www" in its web address. Similarly, websites ending in ".cat", which is the second-level domain for the Catalan language, replace "www" in their web address.
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