First there was .com, then there was .ca. Now, people and companies looking to add a local flavour to their web address can use .quebec.
Quebec is so far the only Canadian province or territory with a domain name to call its own — for now.
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It’s not entirely unique, though. In fact, .quebec was among a slew of generic top-level domain names recently authorized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.
Seventy-six geographical top-level domain names including .Berlin, .London, .NYC, .Vegas and .Miami have been approved by ICANN since late 2013.
Another 300 or so generic top-level domain names were authorized in the same time frame, meaning websites ending with .sexy and .cheap will soon pop up online as well.
$185,000 application partly funded by government
Each generic top-level domain name application cost $185,000 plus fees. ICANN has so far received nearly 2,000 requests.
PointQuébec is the company that applied for .quebec. Partially funded by a grant from the Quebec government’s Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Exports, PointQuébec’s domain name bid was pushed through by ICANN in April.
Spokesman Michel Philibert said that the company invested some of its own money into the application as well.
According to the Quebec business registry, PointQuébec is a local not-for-profit company with a mission to promote Quebec culture and the French language. It counts among its board members former Bixi CEO Roger Plamondon and former MP Liza Frulla.
PointQuébec founder and CEO Normand Fortier said in a news release on Thursday that the general public would be able to acquire a .quebec domain name as of Nov. 13, 2014. However, starting Sept. 2, companies and institutions can try to pre-register their domain names.
Philibert said that although he could not speak for the Quebec government, he imagined the province would want to switch from the current gouv.qc.ca suffix to .quebec. In 2008, the National Assembly voted to support PointQuébec's bid for .quebec.
He said using .quebec would also likely be very beneficial in e-commerce, earning it the support of the federation of Quebec's chambers of commerce.
The cost of registering websites using the .quebec domain would fall within current pricing norms for .coms and other domains, he continued.
Philibert said the revenue will be reinvested into the company to develop future projects.