Is it OK to freely use .es for gimmicky domains?
March 13, 2011 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Plenty of people are using .es (Spain) domain names for sites unrelated to Spain, but is this safe? According to, "Any individual or legal entity with interests in or ties to Spain has the right to acquire the domain.". Even at a stretch, I can't claim that for the domain/site I have in mind (I'm in the UK; site would be international but initially English only), it's purely about constructing a gimmicky English phrase (yeah, I'm not generally a huge fan of that kind of thing).

I'd have thought it'd be safer than something like .ly, for example, with virtually no chance of domains being taken away, but there's a lot of conflicting information out there, with some registrars saying no restrictions, some emphasising it's for Spanish individuals/businesses, and some contradicting themselves (e.g. 123-reg says no restrictions, then demands an "ID number" during purchase).
posted by malevolent to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
See page 9 of this PDF from There's a certificate issue there, sorry, but it is a PDF of the rules for .es domain registration direct from the registration authority, and it is pretty clear on what "interests in Spain" means.

If you want to overcome that to stay complaint, I think you can provide a single Spanish page on your site providing an overview of your site. This would meet the "partially target the Spanish market" criteria and substantially inoculate you against a potential domain dispute later down the line.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:25 AM on March 13, 2011

I think you might be taking that quotation to imply more than it does (p. 9 of the PDF that DarlingBri mentions leads me to the same conclusion, since it has the same vagueness).

That is, all that claim does is ascribe a right to a certain class of people; it doesn't, however, deny that right to any others. So, even if an "individual or legal entity with interests in or ties to Spain" has a right to acquire an .es domain, at no point is it claimed that only such individuals/entities have such a right. Nor, even if others didn't have such a right, is it claimed that they won't grant identical privileges anyway. (Hence the existence of numerous gimmicky sites, I suppose.)

Consider an analogue with Miranda warnings: even though police officers always (and only) advise arrestees that they have the right to remain silent, they at no point intend to deny (nor does what they say ever entail) that no one else has precisely the same right.
posted by astrochimp at 2:08 PM on March 13, 2011

I get your point, astrochimp, and the wording isn't exactly assertive, but I don't think the fact that they haven't explicitly excluded others in that section means it's OK.

Also, on page 15 of that document, I just noticed the 'Motives for cancellation', which include:
a) When ".es" domain names are requested by individuals or incorporated or non-incorporated entities without interests in or ties to Spain, in accordance with section Ten of this Instruction.

So although the trend with domain names has generally been towards fewer restrictions, it sounds like DarlingBri's suggested way to meet the criteria would give a decent level of reassurance.
posted by malevolent at 2:22 AM on March 14, 2011

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