Circa domain hack could cause problems

Startup’s domain name may violate .ca rules.

Startup Circa made a big splash today with the release of its news app for the iPhone. The hoopla has a lot to do with the company’s notable co-founders including Cheezburger Network CEO Ben Huh.

While Circa has a lot going for it, what it doesn’t have is the domain name It settled for the Canadian domain hack

A .ca domain hack doesn’t come with the political risk that you get with domains such as .ly (Libya). But it is a heavily restricted domain name and has pretty strong presence requirements.

It looks like Circa’s use of the domain name runs afoul of these presence requirements.

While the domain is registered to a Canadian man, .Ca registry CIRA’s forbids registrants to “…lend, lease, license or otherwise grant rights…” to any entity that wouldn’t otherwise qualify to register the domain.

The domain is currently registered to a Circa advisor. That’s not enough to qualify under presence requirements rules.

I suspect Circa could fix the issue fairly quickly with a Canadian subsidiary. But companies should be aware that these “cute domain hacks” come with strings attached — be they political or otherwise.

[Hat tip to .CA Member Forums]


  1. says

    Coincidence that I saw this thread as yesterday a friend of mine in the UK, who is a Canadian citizen and has Canadian (and UK) Passport regged a .ca domain. I guess that is ok, but then not to sell it to anyone else ?

  2. Jack says

    Considering those guys and the Cheezburger Network are located in Seattle it wouldn’t be surprising if they had an office set up in Vancouver BC…just a short drive away. Lots of Seattle companies have smaller offices in BC.

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