By: Charles W. Miller III
Individuals, organizations, businesses, city/county governments, Native Sovereign Nations, schools (K-12, private, technical schools, community colleges), libraries, state agencies, and museums may obtain a US domain name. The structure of the US Domain is a hierarchy based on localities. Domain names are constructed with organization-name or personal-name followed by city-name, the state code, and .us, (e.g. name.los-angeles.ca.us). This structure provides for more unique names, more easily located names, and national identification. The US Domain is the sixth largest domain after .com, .net, .edu, .jp (Japan), and .uk (United Kingdom).
2. LEGAL REGULATION.
Anyone can register under the US Domain as long as the naming structure is followed accurately. Any computer in the United States may be registered in the US Domain hierarchy. Generally, computers outside of the United States are expected to register in other domains. However, there may be exceptions when a computer is used as part of a project or in a community with other computers in the United States.
A US domain name can be applied for either by applying to the user=s Internet Service Provider or directly to the US Domain Registry. It is necessary to complete the application that is available at the US Domain registry website found at www.NIC.US. When doing so, it is important to make sure that the name being registered follows the naming structure set forth above. The application may then be submitted via e-mail to: USdomreg@NIC.US. You should make sure that your name servers are prepared before the application is submitted.
The US Domain Registry is administered by Verisign C+Global Registry Services. The US Domain Registry does not charge any fees. Organizations approved to register .us domain names by the US Domain Registry may charge a nominal fee.
Unless the domain name being registered is a personal domain name, the same name may not be used for both administrative and technical contacts. Two different names must be supplied. The administrative contact is responsible for managing the domain name. The technical contact is responsible for making it work.
3. PRACTICAL OPINION.
Anyone can register under the US Domain as long as the naming structure is followed accurately. Within the state name space, there are Alocality@ names, which may be cities, counties (parishes or townships), or local names. For small entities like individuals or small businesses, it is usually very easy to determine locality based names. For example, Miller.Somerville.NJ.US. For larger businesses with facilities in many cities or states, the corporate headquarters usually should be used. The corporation can then manage its own structure under this domain name. For example, IBM.Armonk.NY.US. This is advantageous to the registry because it distributes the responsibility for administration and to the company because it allows it to administer it by itself. It reduce the need to register multiple names and leads to a more efficient system.
The locality-based domain names are the fundamental concept for naming in the US Domain. All other subdomains or branches are exceptions. Acceptable locality names are those listed in the US Postal Service ZIP Code Directory. When the locality name is a county, there is a branch under the locality name, as shown above, called ACO@, that is used by the County Government. Similarly, when the locality name is a city, there is a branch under the locality name, as shown above, called ACI@, that is used by the City Government. (Some localities may use other names such as TOWN, VILLAGE, BOROUGH, or PARISH).
Names registered under Alocality@ would include: County Governmental Agencies (Agency name.CO.Locality.State.US), City Governmental Agencies (Agency name.CI.Locality.State.US), and Businesses or private schools (Agency name.locality.State.US.).
Cities are named (designated) by their full name. Hyphens are used in place of spaces- for example, Fort Lee would be listed as AFort-Lee@). In the past, a few well-known city abbreviations were allowed, but this is no longer the case. Abbreviated names must be replaced with fully-spelled out names. All users in the same city should use the same designator for that city-that is, any particular locality should only have one domain name.
An agency of the city government takes on the responsibility for the delegation of the domain and can register all of the other agencies under the CI code for that locality. For example, the city government for Somerville, New Jersey could take responsibility for its designation, CI.Somerville.NJ.US. It could then register other agencies under that code: Fire-Dept.CI.Somerville.NJ.US.. Similarly, the county government can take on responsibility for its designation (CO.Somerset.NJ.US) and register all of the agencies under it: Fire-Dept.CO.Somerset.NJ.US..
In cases where there is both a county and a city with the same name, the names will be unique with the designation of ACO@ or ACI@. For example, when the county and the city both have their own fire departments, the two domains would have different names registered:
Fire-Dept.CO.Sussex.NJ.US County Fire Department for Sussex County
Fire-Dept.CI.Sussex.NJ.US City Fire Department for Sussex, New Jersey
There is no requirement, as far as the overall US Domain administration is concerned, that the user of a Alocality@ US Domain name actually be in or have any connection with that locality. For example, the user of Miller.Somerville.NJ.US could actually reside in New York. However, the organization information must match the domain name.
Obtaining a second-level geographic domain name in the United States is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure. The application form can be found on the US Domain registry website (www.NIC.US) and may be submitted by e-mail to Usdomreg@NIC.US. It is very important to make sure that the naming structure is followed accurately.