AFNIC opening IDN registratons for .FR ccTLD

AFNIC will shortly be opening the registration of IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) to their ccTLD portfolio. All those who already are owners of .FR domain names or wish to register new ones will benefit from this feature. Starting May 2012, web site owners will be able to buy domain names with accents and special characters.

On February 3, Afnic, the organization that manages French domain names, announced the introduction of special characters in web addresses ending with .FR (France), .RE (La Réunion), .TF (French Southern and Antarctic Lands), .WF (Wallis and Futuna), .PM (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon) and .YT (Mayotte).

A total of 30 new characters will be introduced, including almost all accented vowels (à, é, è, î, ô, ù …), also the “i” and some consonants like “ñ” or “ß” (double “s” in German). Prior to this, domain names were restricted to numbers and Latin letters without accents.

The AFNIC will implement the launch of IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names), in two stages;

• 3 May 2012: Launch of the IDN sunrise period with the “Grandfathering” rule.
• 3 July 2012: Opening with IDN attribution according to the “first come, first served” rule.

Between May 3 and July 3, 2012, the owners of a domain name will be given the opportunity to buy different versions of their name with special characters. For example, societe.fr will be the only buyer who can purchase société.fr. However, after this two-month period, purchase of domain names will be open to all buyers. No privilege will be given to domain owners with the equivalent name without the special characters and a domain name will be sold to the first person who wants to buy it.  So it is essential that one secures their web addresses and protect individual brand names before someone else does.

The “sunrise” or the “Grandfathering” is designed to protect the acquired rights of existing domain owners. The name requested should be the exact equivalent of the name previously held. The requested name is registered in the same extension as the name filed initially in the ASCII (the code that allows only unaccented characters). For .e.g. the owner of “societe.fr” may save “société.fr” but not “société.re”. On the other hand the holder of a name such as “Muller-strasse.fr” may choose three possible variants of this name, namely “Müller-straße.fr”, “Muller-straße.fr” and “Müller- strasse.fr “or only one of them. Registering one of these options will retain his rights for a possible subsequent registration because the accents do not induce any change in meaning of the name in ASCII.

This opening of IDNs only concerns 30 new characters: ß, to, á, â, ã, ä, å, æ, ç, è, é, ê, ë, ì, í, î, ï, ñ, ò, ó, ô, õ, ö, ù, ú, û, ü, ý, ÿ, ow. Cyrillic and Arabic characters are not accepted at this time.


Leave a Reply