The Welsh government and numerous firms in the country will be swapping their domain names to .wales and .cymru after the new web addresses went live today.
The National Assembly for Wales, for example, will be ditching its assemblywales.org domain for assembly.wales, following years of campaigning by organisations such as dotCYM and a three-month consultation by Nominet - the internet registry company chosen to see the task though.
When the change was approved earlier this year, Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said it would “enhance the global presence of brand Wales” and would promote the use of the Welsh language online.
Other firms and organisations due to be switching include S4C - the Welsh-language TV channel - the Welsh Rugby Union, the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales and news outlet Wales Online.
Uniquely, the domains have also been developed to allow companies whose names have diacritic marks used in the Welsh language – such as ŷ – within the address.
Companies with trademarks are the first to be switching over, while Welsh businesses without pre-registered trademarks can apply for their domain in the second registration phase on 3 November.
The general public will be able to choose their personal Welsh domains from St David’s Day on 1 March 2015.
“Today heralds a new era for Wales in the digital world,” Ieuan Evans, Chairman of Nominet’s Wales Advisory Group, said.
“The first group of websites going live today marks only the beginning of this new and innovative venture for Wales. In the next phase of the project, this opportunity will be extended to all businesses and individuals. We can’t wait to share these new domains with everyone in Wales.”
Presiding Officer of the National Assembly, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, said: “Brand recognition is essential for organisations and businesses to successfully promote their work and interests.
“A .wales /.cymru brand will be an enormous help to Welsh organisations as they strive to make their voice heard around the world.
“I encourage everyone who has an online presence in or about Wales to consider adopting the new .cymru / .wales, as part of their future.”
More information on registering a Welsh domain name can be found here: http://ourhomeonline.wales. An official launch is being held at the Senedd tonight from 6pm to 8pm.
The Welsh move follows the general release of the .scot domain name, which went on sale 23 September.Reuse content