back to article After 20-year battle, Channel island Sark finally earns the right to exist on the internet with its own top-level domain

The island of Sark, a United Kingdom royal fiefdom located in the Channel Islands and measuring just two square miles (517 hectares), has succeeded in its 20-year quest to be officially recognized by the International Standards Organization (ISO). The decision will lead to creation of a new two-letter code for the island and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    South Sudan

    An unfortunate choice of TLD

    I now feel the need to look for a site there called waffen

    AC for obvious reasons

    1. e^iπ+1=0



    2. Mips

      Re: South Sudan

      CQ? That was replaced by SOS in the days of morse code. What are they trying to tell us?

  2. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Glad they didn't overthink the process....

    From the referred document:

    Sark’s legislature is called the Chief Pleas. The Chief Pleas legislates by two methods, Laws and Ordinances. In respect of Laws, after the Chief Pleas passes a Law, it is remitted as a Projet de Loi to officials in the Ministry of Justice, London. It is then remitted to the Committee for the Affairs of Jersey and Guernsey, a Committee of the Privy Council (“the Committee”). The Committee includes the Secretary of State for Justice, the member of the United Kingdom cabinet responsible for the Ministry of Justice. If the Committee recommends that Royal Assent be granted, the Projet de Loi is presented to the Privy Council for Royal Assent so that it may become law. Royal Assent will then be given through an Order in Council. The Projet de Loi will not be presented to the Privy Council if the Committee decides not to recommend it for Royal Assent (see the Supreme Court’s judgment in Barclay (no. 1) at paragraph 17).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

      I'm confused. The article implies that the island is autonomous, but if you need to have everything approved by somebody else, you are not autonomous, but under their control. You can have a domain when you move out of the family house, Sark.

      1. Mr Humbug

        The article's parenthetical remark states, it's complicated. The main reasons for it happened in 1066 and in 1204.

      2. VictoriaStamps

        Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

        Sark is a Crown Dependency, it was never part of the UK, so it's not moved out of the family house.

        It was part of the Duchy of Normandy, when the then Duke, William, claimed the English Crown in 1066, it came with him. The current Duke of Normandy is the Queen, hence why, as with other Crown Dependencies, she gets to give assent to any laws, which is ultimately done through the Privy Council. The right to be a self-determining began with the Royal Fief being granted in 1565, though it wasn't until 1572 that the then Seigneur was allowed to make his own laws.

        It's a separate jurisdiction, we are autonomous and we have our own UN country code, 680 if you're interested.

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

          The current Duke of Normandy is the Queen

          No, despite what the Islanders say. The title of Duke of Normandy left the Plantagenet family in 1204 when the land was confiscated by Jean the First King of France, who became also Duke. The British Royals kept pretending being Duke of Normandy as they pretended to be King of France till 1801.

          1. JimC

            Re: No, despite what the Islanders say.

            The title doesn't reflect ownership in the current english aristocracy: its just a text string! The Duke of Windsor, for example, had zero authority over Windsor!

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

          Wait?! How are you able to post here if you don't exist on the internet!

          (Sorry, the article was being silly, I'm just continuing it here)

      3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

        Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

        @AC - "but if you need to have everything approved by somebody else, you are not autonomous"

        They are just as autonomous as Canada, Australia and UK, and also happen to share the same Head of State.

        1. jason_derp Silver badge

          Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

          "They are just as autonomous as Canada..".

          Ugh! I really hate being reminded that we still have an anachronistic monarchy built into our government. We really need to get that shit sorted out, in my opinion.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

            Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

            Genuine question - why does it annoy you? There are far worse models for Head of State - the US and France both come to mind.....

            1. jason_derp Silver badge

              Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

              "Genuine question - why does it annoy you?"

              I appreciate the question. Basically, I feel that the idea of the monarchy in general has a negative effect on our country's identity, and the attitudes of its citizens. Being the member of the commonwealth is wonderful, and I would never ask to leave that position. But it's called the "commonwealth", and our government itself is called a "constitutional monarchy". The implication, though it exists only in theory and not in practice, is that the only thing limiting the royalty's influence on us, her implied subjects, is a piece of mutable paper.

              I am, I want to point out, actually a huge fan of constitutions that change, but the whole situation seems to imply that we're still faithful little subjects pretending to play at house while our parents both had to work that day. We even have a ceremonial position whose only purpose is to act as the Queen's representative and perform unnecessary ceremonial duties and clog up the order of precedence. His outfit paid with taxpayer's money looks like its worth more than the yearly income of some whole towns I live nearby.

              I think it's already an undue mental burden to look around and realize that we are still living in a neofeudalist society where meritocracy and compassion are great ideas too distant to treat as practical applications by the people in power. On top of that, we're then reminded that a person with no proven qualifications, in a hereditary position from a country must of us haven't been to over here, and whose predecessors treated the lives of our predecessors as a means to an end for the sake of colonialism, also happens to be our head of state.

              If we don't have the balls to take another country's monarch's face off of our money, I feel it's very disheartening and slightly dishonest when our elected officials tell us, and when we tell ourselves, that we're self deterministic and can affect real changes in our country.

              And if I'm whining because it's all symbolic and doesn't really matter, I can be shut up my just removing that trivial symbolism. I also think that removing the monarchy completely from our constitution would be symbolic, and a definite positive change overall for us.

              1. e^iπ+1=0

                why does it annoy you?

                One could always leave Sark ...

                or shut up.

                Other alternatives available.

              2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

                Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

                @jason_derp - "Ugh! I really hate being reminded"

                I'm sorry I triggered that, I tend to agree with your sentiment, my post was just trying to explain the situation, not cause mental trauma.

                Comparing Canada and the UK, the UK's suffered under foreign monarchs for a thousand years or more, but we do get tourist dollars... or would, if the borders weren't closed. When we do travel, there's always a suspicion we should be apologising for invasions our ancestors never got to vote about.

            2. cream wobbly

              Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

              The Presidential model follows the goals of a Monarchy in a functioning democracy, but rejects the idea of hereditary rule. Why do you think that's "far worse"?

              The US has Trump for 4 years, (and though it pains me to say it), possibly 8. Big Liz the Deuce has been God-King-and-slaveowner for the better part of seven decades. At least her powers are largely ceremonial, but that's only a "Gentleman's agreement": a future monarch could quite easily restructure Parliament and the Courts on a whim, or dismiss them entirely.

              In the US, allegiance is sworn to the Flag of the US. In the UK, it's to the Monarch.

              1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

                Are you sure? After Cromwell and then the Glorious Revolution, I would think that it's Parliament that can dismiss the monarch, not the other way around.

                But I'm no scholar of the English constitution.

              2. jason_derp Silver badge

                Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

                @cream wobbly

                I understand your point of view. The reason I have an issue with it, is I didn't vote for the Queen. Simple as that. If my country gets run into the ground by a dope with no clue why its "wipe, wash, THEN eat" and not some scrambling of those, he would be a person voted in at least. Democracy isn't perfect, but we all share in the benefits and drawbacks through political involvement.

                I also don't like that we don't get to vote for our senators here in Canada, for much of the same reasons. We didn't vote them in, they shouldn't have any say. People can be rich and special all they want without also involving themselves in the legislation they're in positions to largely ignore anyways. We also don't directly vote for our head of government here, which is also all sorts of bullshit.

                I would also like to say that I didn't specifically say that it was "far worse". While I do think it is worse, the reason is because it's an unelected position that has no reason to be hereditary or filled by appointment via some other political position. And besides, if I have three things that are all "bad", I would prefer to work on making all three "not bad", not focusing on which ones are bad, worse, and worser.

                1. StewartWhite

                  Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

                  Good points. In the UK we still also have the House of Lords which is being ever expanded with fat and overpaid idiots who we are told by our overlords have much more expertise than us proles and hence couldn't be replaced by an elected 2nd chamber.

                  Politicians elected to a 2nd chamber wouldn't necessarily result in a better system of government but it could stop the ridiculous expansion by patronage of the Lords with yet more ermined buffoons. IMO they might well be idiots but at least they would be our idiots and there's a chance that they might stay awake during debates - the Lords are a national embarrassment with OAPs snoring and drooling on the leather benches just so they can collect their daily expenses and eat at restaurants that are subsidised by taxpayers.

              3. phuzz Silver badge

                Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

                "a future monarch could quite easily restructure Parliament and the Courts on a whim"

                They could try, and by that evening the UK would be a republic.

                Over here, it's less "what does the law say", and more "you and who's army?".

          2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

            Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

            My only problem with firing the Queen is appending any of the following to the word President:


















            You get the idea.

        2. Jim Mitchell Silver badge

          Re: Glad they didn't overthink the process....

          If that is the correct description, I wish the article had said that. I don't understand the intricacies of the Channel Islands, but I can understand Canada (and most of Australia).

  3. steelpillow Silver badge

    Internet of Shit

    It just goes to show that the Internet of Shit(TM) follows its lead right from the very top. It takes a non-Internet organization, the ISO, to force these piles of utter shit that call themselves Internet administrators to behave like human beings. What a bunch of (look away now, children) stupid c**ts!

    Sorry, a school friend of mine used to live there. Sark is a very, very special place - in both its natural landscape and human community. It deserves love and respect, not moronic oppression.

    1. hypnos

      Re: Internet of Shit

      I bet it's a lovely fiscal paradise too. That's why it is better to have its own TLD, nést pas??

      1. EU time zones

        Re: Internet of Shit

        Correct - for a long time Sark had no Company Law, so any Company incorporated there could do as it pleased. The catch - the Directors had to be Sark residents so a lot of controlled-from-elsewhere companies had a couple of Sark residents as their tame Directors who would vote as they were told, for a small stipend. It was called 'The Sark Lark' the the City. A bit like the Cayman Islands and Panama, but colder and closer.

    2. EBG

      i wonder why ?

      The missing datum ATL is that the various Channel islands are not in the EU. Yes - I know EHCR is not the EU per se, but you can see why european level institutions might have wanted to be a bit unhelpful.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing worse than minor bureaucrats for using their tiny bit of power to make life more difficult for people just because.

    Congratulations Sark. Welcome to the internet. Pull up a kitten and make yourself comfortable. Don't look up anything on Urban Dictionary.

    1. Kane Silver badge

      "Don't look up anything on Urban Dictionary."

      I disagree. Like ripping off a sticky plaster, best to get it over and done with.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Are you kidding? Look up everything on Urban Dictionary.

      Just not from a work provided device.

  5. Ian 55


    Things were much easier when you could say 'Hey Jon, can I have this country code' or 'Hey, can I have this .uk domain, forever' without involving Nominet.

  6. TheProf Silver badge

    Tabloid Hyperbole

    "After 450 years, the tiny feudal Channel island of Sark will finally earn the right to exist on the internet with a domain."

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

      Quite, Sark is no longer feudal, that was dismantled in 2008 and replaced with a 30 chamber of 28 elected members, 1 life member and one hereditary.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

        I think every part of that sentence is incorrect, then. Let's modify it to "After 20 years or so, the tiny semiautonomous democratic Channel island of Sark will finally earn the right to exist on a list of geographic entities chosen arbitrarily. This might let them later get a domain."

        1. Rol Silver badge

          Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

          From my experience of lists - the longer they get, the longer it takes to retrieve anything.

          I know the overhead will be nanoseconds, but still, if every rock that pokes its head up from the sea gets stuck on the list, then those nanoseconds will globally add up to several Gigawatts of computing power spent ferreting through it.

          Hopefully, the laborious 21 year drudge will put everyone else off from burning the planets resources up so a handful of people can have their ego stroked.

          1. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

            Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

            "if every rock that pokes its head up from the sea gets stuck on the list, "

            So the campaign to get a TLD for Rockall Island starts NOW!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

        So, that's what, about 17% of the entire population are in government? :-)

        I'm guessing that being in the governing chamber is a part time job, along with the two or three other jobs that each does?

        (Friend of mine used to live on a small island and according to him, most people will have at least two jobs)

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Tabloid Hyperbole

      All right, all right - the headline's been tweaked to something more dull but worthy. Congrats on the cctld.


  7. doublelayer Silver badge

    Why not

    I see absolutely no reasons for ISO to have held this up as long as they did. The list of places that have codes is a very strange one--plenty of autonomous regions with lots of people living in them don't have codes, while places like Bouvet island, which is now and has always been uninhabited because it's basically a glacier on a rock in the sea far from everywhere, or the Herd and McDonald islands, which are a bunch of glaciers and a volcano on some rocks in the sea far from everywhere get codes. Several methods of assigning codes would make sense to me. You could be very restrictive and say countries only, allow countries and autonomous regions within those countries, or start assigning codes to every delineated area on the world map. But ISO seems to have started with the third option then decided to cancel it for no apparent reason.

  8. Wibble

    TLD's of interest to radio amateurs (hams)

    1. richdin

      Re: TLD's of interest to radio amateurs (hams)

      Waiting impatiently!~


  9. RichardB


    Glad to see no one making too many Sarky comments on here about the medium term prospects of their tourism industry.

    Maybe once the paperwork is finally in place we may have moved on from beer related lockdowns.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: /S

      The music industry need to worry as well. I hear that Michael Buble has been spreading the croonervirus...

  10. Herby


    Scotch it is!

    ...I'm on the way out...bye.

    (I couldn't resist).

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Cutty??

      Pass it on the left hand side, I mean port side - oh, the side with the red light dammit!

      Hang on Herby, I'm leaving too.

  11. foo_bar_baz

    Raise some money to buy your own TLD

    Easier than fighting the bureaucracy. Would have gone for .sark myself.

  12. Malcolm Weir

    And now... I guess Alderney gets to try for their own?

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Sercq indépendente!

  14. Flak

    First world problems

    Congratulations to Sark!

    I can't help but think, however, that the argument is a bit over the top:

    "it doesn't exist online"

    ISO's 3166 list - "if you aren't on that list, you effectively don't exist on the internet"

    "Without it, Sark faced an existential threat."

    Other islands exist - even on the Internet - without their own top-level domains.

    But more power to the 500 or so Sarkonians!

    (I hope I am not causing an international incident by using this term which is probably wrong - happy to be corrected)

  15. 45RPM Silver badge

    Yes, but how many cases of Covid are there on Sark?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I could phone up their doctor and ask?

      I know someone who went over there as cover for the doctor for a few weeks last year, and was asked back for 13 weeks in January - so is probably still there. I think I've still got her number on my phone.

      the bit in the article about Sark registering their own vehicles was a bit off. They don't really have many. No cars allowed. Not even for the doctor, who I believe gets a bike. And the ability to call on the assistance of one of the tractors - if it's urgent enough she can't cycle but not enough to call for a helicopter. The tractors also cover fire engine duty, and presumably everything else, as well as everyday tractoring.

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        Just a place for me, then. I can drive a tractor and like cycling. But ... how are the internet speeds out there? And what about Ocado deliveries?

  16. Dabooka Silver badge

    Wow another TLD

    for 123reg to auto-register for its customers.

    'Don't miss out on this great opportunity to expand your business in Sark, get in now to maximise the opportunities FOR FREE (then charged at just £14.00 / yr)'

  17. eldakka Silver badge

    If the ISO subcommittee is pissed off ...

    There are still plenty of unknowns: he doesn't even know if Sark will get the .cq code it has asked for - the actual code assigned is decided purely by the ISO.

    I note that .fu is unassigned.

  18. Mike 137 Silver badge

    After 450 years, [...] Sark will finally earn the right to [...] its own top-level domain

    I never realised the internet had been around that long.



    Is it just me, but did anyone else immediately here the MCP shouting SARK! when reading the headline?

    Oh..just me then. So sad. Must get out more.....Oh wait.

  20. TeeCee Gold badge


    More urgently, they should be ensuring that they register ".sark" as a TLD.

    I suspect there's actual cash to be made with that.

  21. teknopaul Silver badge

    The burning question

    How many websites does sark have?

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