Why The Soviet Union Still (Kinda) Exists Online

Why The Soviet Union Still (Kinda) Exists Online


Have you ever wondered what happens to a country’s
stuff when it ceases to exist? Physical things like buildings and weapons are easily transferable
to other states or organisations. But what about less tangible things? This video is
all about domain names. And no it’s not a Squarespace sponsorship… unless they want
it to be. Domain names are pretty important and can be valued somewhere near the GDP of
a small country. To be able to understand this video (and yeah
so it isn’t 30 seconds long) you need to know a bit about URLs and a bit about the
soviet union. As you’ve made it onto the internet and
to this video, you’ve probably got a decent idea what a URL is. And you can probably see
that it’s broken down into three pieces. The parts are named the first, second and
third level domains – but this way round to make life annoying. The third level is almost
always www. Which could stand for wicked wood worm but it doesn’t. It stands for World
Wide Web. The second level domain name is often the
fun one. It’s the one you can choose yourself, as long as you have an idea so obscure or
unwanted that no one has already got it. For example you could have fishhurtmyfeelings,
absolutelycheddar or even adamaucockisthebestyoutuber. Ironically, both unwanteddomain and obscuredomain
are not available. This level of domain can even be written in
emojis. As of 2018 there were at least 25,000 of these domains claimed. Including (poop
emoji).la and (hot springs emoji).net which serves as a kind of urban dictionary but for
emojis. Predictably, the entries are not quite PG. Some big companies have even given it
a go. Coca Cola registered (smiley face emoji).ws for a promotion, they also once bought all
the ways of spelling ah from one ‘h’ up to 63. The first or top level domain (TLD) is the
one we want to focus on. It’s most often .com but can also be things like .gov or .mil
for other types of website. There are also another set called generic top level domains
that are far from that with examples like .barefoot .gripe .hiv .blockbuster and of
course .meme But the other large group of TLDs are country
codes like .uk .us and .bs. There are 255 country code domains. Interestingly the united
nations says there are only 193 countries. (yes the vatican has its own domain) Some
countries won the lottery with these allocations because their governments sold the licencing
rights and made a whole bunch of money off popular domains. like google using .gl bitly
using .ly and loads of people using .tv. Now, onto the soviet union, it was a country
famous for numerous things but basically, all you need to know is that it was a country
that used to look like this until it very quickly looked like this. That’s because
the soviet union ceased to exist in 1991 and became all of these individual countries.
But this is where it gets interesting. Country specific TLDs took their codes from
the ISO 3166. ISO confusingly stands for International Organisation for Standardisation and this
document assigns two letter codes for every country. But they started doing this way back
in 1974. The slightly sharper of you viewers might have noticed that 1974 is actually before
1991 (woah). So this means that the soviet union got a country code. Then when country
codes were being given out at top level domains the Soviet Union got its own. It was assigned
to the country in September 1990. Just 15 months before the country collapsed. COINCIDENCE?
Yeah, probably. The country broke up and for about 2 years
Russia, the biggest newly independent country, didn’t have it’s own top level domain.
They eventually got .ru in 1993 and it looked like .su domain would fade into non-existence
until it would finally be decommissioned. But the Russian government requested to keep
the domain and in 2001 opened registrations for the domain name once again. There are
reportedly around 118,335 sites still using this domain name. Including institutions like
the pro-Putin youth movement and the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine. Due to the domains
general lack of moderation it’s also reportedly filled with nefarious sites and hackers. Now, before you go running out to grab jujit.su
or tirami.su (someone already has that one actually, disappointingly, it redirects to
another website with no mention of dessert) there are some hurdles to getting this domain.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you what they were because the rules are all, unsurprisingly
in Russian. This is the part of the video where I would
make a hamfisted segue like ‘You know where you could learn to speak Russian, Skillshare,
but more importantly Skillshare was built using Squarespace, which you can only access
with a password that you can keep safe with Dashlane.’, that would be if this channel
had any sponsors, which it doesn’t so this is the end of the video.

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