IDN 3 Character & Variant Management

Seoul, 25 Octicann seoul
IDN Implementation Status

• With responsible rules and oversight, significant consensus to launch Fast Track process soon
– The Board will consider launching that process at this meeting
• Additionally, significant progress has been made towards the launch of the new gTLD process, including the delegation of IDNs
• Culmination of years of work that has resolved many issues, but some difficult issues still open, among them:
– The new gTLD 3‐character requirement
– Variant management

3‐Character Requirement for an IDN gTLD

– Practice & RFC 1591 currently requires that all two character codes be interpreted as ISO 3166‐1 country codes and reserved for ccTLD use
– Many languages exist where meaningful words can be represented in less than three characters, which would pose a restriction for IDN gTLDs under current rules
– Objective: determine a set of rules (an exception) so that gTLD strings of less than three characters can be registered in some cases, without interfering with the rules reserving two‐character codes as specified in RFC 1591

Variant Characters and TLDs

• Variant characters occur where a single character has two or more representations, which may or may not look visually similar
• Variant TLDs are those which contain one or more characters that have variant characters
• Allowing variant TLDs may result in user confusion, while excluding them may ‘disenfranchise’ cultures that use the characters in the excluded TLD strings

Objectives for Addressing both Issues

• A working team was formed to engage with relevant language communities to:
•  Develop recommendations to address the three‐character requirement and management of variants in TLDs described earlier
• Report back with recommendations to Board and community in time for the Seoul meeting

Working Team Charter: Handling IDN TLD Variants

• Develop definition of variants as used in IDNs, i.e., what does “variant” mean as used in IDN tables (for gTLDs and ccTLDs)
• Determine whether blocking or reservation of variant TLDs is necessary to prevent user confusion
• When delegated, the user experience when using variant TLDs must be at least as good as when using TLDs without variants.
– Determine under what circumstances TLD variants might be delegated
– Determine responsibilities of TLD operator to whom TLD and variant(s) might be delegated

What problems do variants solve?

Delegation of variant TLDs
• will allow broader participation
– users not familiar with variant characters
– users can only type one of the variant characters on their keyboard
– often one region uses only one string/character and another region uses only the variant version
• may degrade the user experience due to similarity
– unless delegated with an aliased or bundled functionality

Short‐term Solution

• Requested desired variants: reserved
– to requesting IDN ccTLD manager
– allocation when stable solution is found
• Not requested, un‐desired variants: blocked
– list generated by tool, based on IDN tables
– no subsequent application will be accepted
– need for dispute mechanism

Long‐term Solution

• Enable the delegation of variants that
– Avoid user confusion
– Ensure good user experience
• Several solutions are being discussed

Leave a Reply