Removal of the .YU domain formerly representing Yugoslavia

The .YU domain delegation has been removed from the DNS root zone as the final step in the process to retire the domain from usage. ICANN staff provide this report to the community as information.

Factual Information

The “YU” ISO 3166-1 code was designated for use for “Yugoslavia”, a former state in Europe that is now comprised of multiple smaller states.

According to the records ICANN has available, the .YU domain was initially delegated in 1989 with operations managed in Ljubljana. With the breakup of the nation of Yugoslavia into a successor Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s, the operators of the domain were no longer based in Yugoslavia. Operations of the domain were amended to reflect this in 1994, and since that time, .YU has been maintained by faculty members at the University of Belgrade under the name “YUNET”.

On 4 February 2003, the successor Yugoslavia was succeeded by a different form of union between the states of Serbia and Montenegro. Two days later, the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency issued an advisory that they were aware the country of Yugoslavia had changed its name and structure, and that it would start a process of determining the appropriate two-letter code in the ISO 3166-1 standard for the new country. In the mean time, it advised continued use of the “YU” code.

On 23 July 2003, a new two-letter code of “CS” was designated for Serbia and Montenegro. The successor was to be known as “Serbia and Montenegro”, and in recognition of this, on 23 July 2003 the ISO 3166-1 code was changed from “YU” to “CS” (i.e. “Crna Gora and Srbija”). The Secretariat of the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency formally communicated this change to IANA Staff.

With the removal of “YU” from the ISO 3166-1 standard, the code was deemed “transitionally reserved” by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency. Under ISO 3166 guidelines, the means that usage of the code must be ended “ASAP”.

In discussions between the operator of .YU and ICANN, the operator of .YU conveyed an opinion that a planned referendum for self-determination to be held by Montenegro had a reasonable prospect of seeing the union between Serbia and Montenegro dissolved, with the result being the creation of two separate countries. In light of this, ICANN did not seek an immediate transition from the .YU domain to the .CS domain until the outcome of that process was concluded.

In May 2006, the referendum was held in Montenegro and resulted in a decision for independence. The countries subsequently declared their independence in June 2006.

The ISO 3166-1 standard was revised to recognize the two new countries, with a revision issued on 26 September 2006. This revision removed the “CS” code, and added an “ME” code for Montenegro, and an “RS” code for Serbia. Once the standard was revised it became possible for ICANN to consider applications for delegation of these two new codes in the DNS root zone.

In October 2006, IANA Staff met with Mirjana Tasic, the administrative contact for the .YU registry. In this meeting she explained that initial discussions were being conducted both within Serbia, and with prospective operators of the .ME domain. ICANN was advised that it was anticipated there would be delegation applications forthcoming from the countries. In those discussions, the importance of a transition plan from the existing “.YU” domain was stressed.

In December 2006, the Government of Montenegro submitted a delegation application for the .ME domain. This was followed by the applications for the delegations of the .RS domain, and the redelegation of the .YU domain, to the Serbian National Registry of Internet Domain Names (specifically, Registar Nacionalnog Internet Domena Srbije, or RNIDS).

In line with historical practice, and consistent with the principles of adherence to the ISO 3166-1 standard, these were delegated on the condition that the “.YU” domain be retired.

During the ICANN Board meeting assessing these applications, there was a discussion about the appropriate timeline for decommissioning — and the Board ultimately believed it was more appropriate to have a relatively short timeline. The final resolution that was adopted by the ICANN Board on 11 September 2007 is that the .YU domain should be retired within two years:

Whereas, the .YU top-level domain is currently used by the citizens of both Serbia and Montenegro,

Whereas, ICANN has delegated the .RS domain for use in Serbia, and the .ME domain for use in Montenegro,

Whereas, the ISO 3166-1 standard has removed the “YU” code, and the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency recommends its use be discontinued,

Whereas, ICANN is not responsible for deciding what is or is not a country, and adheres to the ISO 3166-1 standard for guidance on when to add, modify and remove country-code top-level domains,

Whereas, there is a transition plan to move registrations in .YU to the new domains .RS and .ME, with the operator of .RS acting as the temporary caretaker of .YU until the transition is complete,

Resolved (07.77), that the .YU domain be redelegated to the Serbian National Registry of Internet Domain Names in a temporary caretaker capacity.

Resolved (07.78), that the Serbian National Registry of Internet Domain Names be instructed to report their progress on decommissioning the .YU domain every six months to ICANN against a relevant set of metrics.

Resolved (07.79), that the Serbian National Registry of Internet Domain Names, and the Government of Montenegro, work to complete the transition from the .YU domain to the .RS and .ME domains, so that it may be removed from the DNS root zone no later than 30 September 2009.

Following this resolution, to implement the guidance from the ICANN Board on a reporting mechanism, IANA Staff met with representatives of the .YU registry, the Serbian National Registry of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), and discussed an appropriate approach. The discussion centered around reporting on the issues concerning timely implementation of retirement of .YU such that any concerns that may result in delaying the decommissioning date could be adequately shared and considered well in advance.

Specifically, the regular reports needed to address three questions:

1. Describe the registry’s progress in retiring the .YU domain.

2. Describe any problems experienced that may impact the registry’s ability to meet the 30 September 2009 deadline.

3. Describe what steps are being undertaken to remedy the issues raised in #2.

On 6 November 2007, based on the verbally agreed approach, a letter was transmitted to RNIDS formally documenting the reporting protocol.

Following the delegation of .RS, the registry took a staged approach to the decommissioning of the .YU domain. In the first phase, all names registered within .YU had their respective .RS domain reserved. This was conducted as part of a sunrise process that involved other rights-based allocations prior to general availability.

During the first six months of .RS operations, only existing .YU domain holders were able to obtain domains corresponding to the reservations. As the domains have a hierarchical model (.CO.RS, .ORG.RS, etc.) rights were also awarded for domains directly under .RS on a first-come first-served basis.

By September 2008, after the six month period, unredeemed .RS reservations expired, and general availability started for .RS domains. The .YU registry was then curated, with inactive and unused .YU domains being identified. 2,769 .YU domains deemed as still active, and all remaining .YU domains were removed in March 2009. Between March and May 2009, 1,236 domain holders appealed to have their domains re-instated.

ICANN received a short status update from RNIDS in early 2008, however nothing further was reported according to the reporting protocol regarding the transition, or any difficulties that had been encountered.

In June 2009, Slobodan Markovic, a board member of RNIDS, sent an email to Rod Beckstrom — at that time the presumptive future President and CEO — and Peter Dengate Thrush asking for an extension to the decommissioning deadline.

The application provided no specific justification as to why an extension should be made, except to report some lingering issues associated with the fact that despite most .YU users moving to .RS, some .YU domains were still in use:

As of June 2009, there were 4,266 .YU domains still delegated, down from 32,772. At that time there were 26,294 domains registered in .RS. It is worth noting that of these remaining 4,266 domains, only approximately 200 did not also have the matching .RS domain.

ICANN staff researched the particulars of the appeal and provided a report to the ICANN Board to consider. In its 30 September 2009 meeting, the Board passed the following resolutions:

Whereas, the .YU top‐level domain is being decommissioned after being superseded by the .RS and .ME domains for Serbia and Montenegro respectively,

Whereas, the Board resolved during its 11 September 2007 meeting that the .YU domain be decommissioned by 30 September 2009,

Whereas, the .YU domain's caretaker RNIDS has sought an extension of the deadline in order to better finalise the transition away from the .YU domain,

Resolved (2009.09.30.15), that the deadline for .YU domain decommissioning be extended to 30 March 2010,

Furthermore, whereas RNIDS has asked ICANN for better guidance for the future on how the process of retiring country-code top-level domains should be conducted, in the form of clear and transparent rules,

Whereas, the Board is aware that the ccNSO Council has established a working group to advise on whether to launch a policy development process to review the current policy on delegation, redelegation and retirement of country-code top-level domains,

Resolved (2009.09.30.16), that the ccNSO is asked to consider the RNIDS request on better supporting the process of retiring country-code top-level domains, and report back to the Board its findings.

Subsequent to this Board resolution, ICANN staff liaised with RNIDS to implement the final decommissioning date of 30 March 2010. RNIDS staff confirmed this date, and a root zone change request was initiated and processed up to its final implementation phase. The change was then held in abeyance for execution in the DNS root zone until that date.

On 30 March, RNIDS informed the community that it had effectively switched off the .YU domain, independent of the removal of the .YU delegation from the DNS root zone. It did so acknowledging that the scheduled transfer process had concluded, and that it was in the Internet community’s interest to adhere to the scheduled timeline:

In according with ICANN decision, [the] .yu domain is supposed to be deleted, turned off or disappear on 30th of March. As the last information that we got from IANA was that this moment will be as close as possible to 30th of March 2010. and that it depend on US government and Verisign,  RNIDS, Serbian national register decided to fix this moment on 12am, 30th of March, considering this way as better solution for Internet community.

It means that today [at] 12AM (GMT+1:00) ... we shall delete .yu domain from DNS servers of YU ccTLD root zone.

The delegation of the .YU domain was removed from the DNS root zone on 1 April 2010 in serial number update 2010040100.