I Need To Found A Town

…if I want to be allowed to register the domain name

I’ve always thought it would be cool to register a domain for my surname so that I could give my family email addresses and website subdomains. Or even just as a bit of nerd cred.

Unfortunately, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority won’t let me.

If you do a whois lookup on you’ll see the following non-descriptive error message.

I’ve actually been on a quest to figure out how to register since before I registered over 18 years ago. Back then, the error message was a bit more specific. It mentioned something to the effect of the domain name being reserved for a municipality.

Sure enough, Neudorf is a village in Saskatchewan with a population of just under 300 and a nice looking community hall.

It turns out that the CIRA has reserved all municipal names registered in the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base and only official of those municipalities are ever allowed to own the domain name. They’re not even allowed to transfer it, according to a conversation I had with @cira on Twitter.

However in cases where the municipality shares a name with a major brand (ex., the brand has been given the right to register the domain name. What gives?

A close reading of the CIRA’s General Registration Rules indicates that there is one small exception to these rules, written consent from the CIRA.

So this is what I am now pursuing, written consent. It seems like less work than founding a town.


While I understand the the motivation for this policy is likely to avoid domain name squatting. It seems like a better policy would be to reserve the third-level domain name (i.e. rather than give every tiny hamlet and village a reservation that’s difficult and annoying to register if you’re a legitimate party sharing the same.

There must be hundreds of overlaps between surnames, even business names and small municipalities who will never ever bother to register a domain name.