Dot-ca today, gone tomorrow

If domain name registration was the barometer for the lightning expansion of cyberspace, then the lack of re-registration of the dot-ca appendage is an indicator that many on the bandwagon may have simply fallen off.

By the beginning of November, after a pervasive and lengthy ad campaign, one third of approximately 98,000 dot-ca names were not re-registered as required by CIRA, the new gatekeepers of Canada’s two letter code.

“Quite a number of those will be sites that are simply not in existence any more,” said Maureen Cubberly, chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) in Ottawa.

“I would imagine that as high as 50 per cent of the remaining ones might be sites that are no longer in use,” she added.

Originally the deadline to re-register was Nov. 1, but this was pushed back a month due to lack of response. For the few days preceding the end of October re-registration rates did go up, but once the extension was announced they fell back down, Cubberly said. “Human nature, I guess.”

Failure to re-register was hardly due to ignorance. Every registered dot-ca contact person was e-mailed several times, plus national ads were taken out in newspapers across the country, in both English and French.

“There was so much press, it was hard to miss,” said Lorne Erenberg, president of, an on-line bond trading Web site that has re-registered its name.

Nor was difficulty in re-registering an issue, according to many. “We did all of that (going through an approved registrar) and it was approved without a problem,” Erenberg added.

“We have already re-registered, no complications, no problems…everything is fine,” said Lori De Cou, manager of corporate communications for electronics giant Future Shop in Vancouver.

Even Cubberly tried the process to make sure it was glitch free. “Actually I did it myself just to make sure I wasn’t missing something…I took myself through the steps and it took me all of about five minutes,” she explained.

The process requires registration through an accredited registrar, of which there are now more than 65 across the country. Fees start at around $25 to register a dot-ca name. Visitors to the CIRA site can check the availability of a given dot name.

Companies who failed to meet the Dec. 1 deadline will find their site no longer accessible. If a company does not re-register by the end of January, the domain name will become available on a first-come, first-served basis.