“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, dotEngland, and Saint George”
Seven years ago a group was formed to petition ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to introduce a specific domain name to represent the people, businesses and identity of England. Whilst the .co.uk was growing day by day, year by year, a small minority felt that England deserved its own Top Level Domain. This was a time when ICANN were in serious debate about an expansion of the domain space, yet when dotEng had a chance to make the TLD reality when the application window for new gTLDs opened, they weren't able to apply.
The Application Guidebook that laid down the rules and regulations on specific geographic applications. Whilst ICANN wanted to throw the doors to the Internet wide open, they needed to ensure each and every applicant was financially stable and had the right to apply. Only trademark holders could apply to run their own dotBrand TLD but when it came to geographic terms, who owned the rights to a city or country name? Essentially no one. So in order to apply for such a gTLD any application had to be accompanied by a signed letter from the relevant government or public authority. For any application for an English GeoTLD would need a letter signed by the Prime Minister.
The situation of the governance of the United Kingdom and its constituent parts is complicated. Whilst England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are countries in their own right, they are not individual sovereign states, nor have they been for 300 years. Our Parliament is the ruling body for the United Kingdom, and whilst some powers have been devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, it would still take approval of the government of the United Kingdom to back any application for a dotEngland.
The Scottish Executive and National Assembly for Wales whole-heartedly backed applications for GeoTLDs that are now available to anyone to register, whilst St. Patrick's Day saw the launch of the most-anticipated dotIrish. England still doesn't have a TLD to call its own. The .co.uk TLD has now been joined by its Dad, dotUK but that still isn't enough for some people who feel we've lost some national identity in an increasingly crowded global environment.
Whilst there may be a groundswell of support for a dotEngland gTLD, the question comes down to one of politics. Will any future Government have the political balls to back a move to promote an element of national identity that in many other ways it's chosen to dumb down?