SEDO: New Opportunities with Internationalized Domain Names

After nearly a decade of planning, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has stepped up

By Keith White, Customer Relations and Support Specialist

After nearly a decade of planning, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has stepped up to announce that fully internationalized domain names (IDNs) are slated to become a reality. First on the plate are country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) in various languages of the world.

The recent success of .ASIA and the continued growth of international domain markets and internet users have led to an increased awareness of the need for non-English extensions. The creation of new ccTLDs such as “.瓷” instead of .CN, or “.Ελλάδα” in place of .GR, will undoubtedly open the internet and the domain industry to an even broader mix of people, although the actual extensions remain to be seen.

According to Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) chairman Chris Disspain, efforts will be directed at areas of highest need in the implementation process, which include the creation of new techno-policies to aid in administration (such as working with the difference between traditional and simplified Chinese, versus interchangeable upper- and lower-case Latin letters) and finding “a way to represent territory identifications in their local languages in operation as ccTLDs.”

“This fast-track process will really be driven by those who want to take part and get their name in their language on their internet in their country,” Disspain said. With players in the mix such as Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia and vice chair for the Internet Society in Hong Kong, the pressure is on for non-English top-level domains to be introduced as early as mid-2009. ICANN has stated it will begin taking applications for new non-English ccTLDs early next year.

Even though internationalized TLDs bring with them a more complicated internet, this could spell greater opportunity across the board. Internet users who are unfamiliar with English can be brought together with businesses and services that are targeted specifically to them in their own language. As exciting as this news may be, there is a bit of work left to be done. Although 2009 is still a ways off, the fully internationalized domain names – and the guaranteed changes to the internet and domain industry – are closer than we think.


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