.br registrars, requirements and history
The Internet is a vast and varied place. Everyone and everything seems to be represented in some form or fashion, and countries are no exception. When it comes to Brazil, the only Portuguese-speaking nation on the South American continent, its web presence is identified by the .br domain, which was introduced in 1989 as their country-specific Top-Level Domain.
The .br TLD is, comparatively speaking, much more rigid than other Top-Level Domains. For instance, there are only a limited number of so-called "second-level" categories available for use, and of those, one must choose the one which most closely matches the purpose and nature of the website being registered. There is, however, some measure of latitude where educational institutions are concerned, particularly universities and colleges. On the opposite end of the spectrum, banks and the Brazilian judiciary have mandatory second-level .BR domains attached to them. This rule is enforced by a third-party organization, the Internet Engineering Task Force, using the DNSSE (Domain Name System Security Extensions) suite of technologies.
Regardless of the organization, individual, or entity seeking a .br Top-Level Domain, the only way to even gain access to them in the first place is to prove to the Brazilian Network Information Center that the applicant possesses a bona fide connection to Brazil.
In keeping with its relatively stringent, nationalistic framework, this TLD is rather unique in that it accepts Portuguese characters, something not usually seen in the predominantly English-speaking configuration of domains around the world.
Not surprisingly, the .BR domain is Brazil's most popular, most widely-used domain.