Oman introduces عمان. (.oman), the Arabic script IDN ccTLD

Muscat, Oman – 1st May 2012 – The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the Sultanate of Oman, with the support of ARI Registry Services, officially relaunched the .om country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) today in a move to ensure the ongoing stability and growth of the Internet within the country and greater Gulf region.

ARI Registry Services was selected by the TRA in March 2011 to provide domain name registry software and supporting services to revitalise the .om ccTLD.

The project will also include the launch of عمان. (.oman), the Arabic script IDN ccTLD for Oman.

Mohammed Al Kindy, Senior Manager Technical Affairs for the Oman TRA, said the project was important to the ongoing development of the Internet in Oman.

“The relaunch of .om and launch of عمان. (.oman) will provide Internet users in Oman with a stable and reliable piece of infrastructure that is based on best practice domain name registry operation. This will provide an opportunity to expand the reach of the Internet in Oman and reinforce its importance as a national asset.

“We thank ARI Registry Services for their support on this project,” Mr Al Kindy said.

Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services, congratulated the TRA on the relaunch.

“This project represents a significant advancement of the Internet within Oman and reinforces the Government’s commitment to provide the best possible Internet experience to its people. We congratulate the TRA for their foresight and dedication to developing the Internet in their region,” Mr Kinderis said.

“The introduction of عمان. (.oman) will position Oman as one of only a few Arabic speaking countries with the capability to allow its citizens to navigate the web in their native language. This is something Oman should be proud of.

“This has been a tremendous project for the team at ARI to be involved in. We have completely customised our solution to address the needs of the TRA and assist them in the revitalisation of a national asset. Our work has included the development of customised registry software to handle the various policy and business requirements that are specific to the region, the purchase and configuration of hardware along with the deployment of staff to implement our licensed product and educate the TRA on its management,” Mr Kinderis said.

With the new infrastructure the TRA has acquired, Oman will be open to more registrars and this will help further develop the .om and عمان. (.oman) namespaces.

Москва.com IDN sold for $216000

DNJournal recorded the Largest IDN deal for Москва.com (“Moscow” in Russian) which was completed in July 2011 when the final installment on a $216,000 purchase price was paid. That is the highest verified sale price reported to date for an IDN. The deal was originally subject to a  confidentiality agreement but Gary Males at IDNTools.com was able to persuade the seller and buyer Moshe Schneider to release details of the transaction, including the documentation we required to verify the price paid. Noted domain attorney John Berryhill was retained to handle the transaction and ensure that all terms of the sale contract were met.

ICANN Public Comment: Second Annual IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Review

ICANN is now opening a public comment forum for the second annual review of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. Community members and specifically those who were directly involved in the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process, including requesters, public authorities, and end users of the delegated IDN ccTLDs, are kindly asked to provide feedback on their experience in the process.

Public Comment Box Link: http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/fast-track-review-2012-09apr12-en.htm

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.

gTLD Strategy: International Relations

Here on gTLD Strategy, we spend a lot of our time talking about English-language gTLDs, mostly because that’s the language we speak best. The FairWinds staff dabbles in Spanish, Korean, French, Arabic, Chinese, and even Polish, but you could say English is our forte.

But, of course, ICANN’s New gTLD Program is not limited to gTLDs in English, or even in Latin script characters (or ASCII). Organizations will also be able to submit applications for Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs, in non-Latin scripts like Cyrillic, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, and others. Some have touted this as one of the greatest innovations of the New gTLD Program: now, instead of having to switch scripts between the second level and the top level when typing out domain names, international Internet users will be able to type entire domain names in their native scripts.

While IDNs are, indeed, a great development for Internet users, there is also a strategic element about them for brand owners. Specifically, several companies that we have worked with have decided to pursue transliterated variants of their brands as IDNs.

What kinds of companies should consider applying for IDNs? Essentially, any company that has already transliterated its brand or brands into non-Latin scripts for foreign markets should consider doing so. If your company has a market presence in Saudi Arabia, for example, and is known by an Arabic-transliterated version of its brand, you should consider applying for that brand as an Arabic IDN. Brands should especially consider this option if they have this kind of presence in a key growth market like China, India, or Russia, or a key mature market like Japan or Korea.

Other brands, however, are the same everywhere. By that, we mean they are known by the same Latin-script term across all countries and markets. In that case, applying for an IDN version of their brands is probably not worth the time, price or effort, because their customers are not used to seeing transliterated versions of those brands. Read the rest of this entry »

Notice of Extension of ICANN Comment Period: IDN Variant Issues Project – Proposed Project Plan

In response to comments made by participants at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica, ICANN has extended this public comment period for 21 days until 8 April 2012.

ICANN has also received a number of constructive comments for amendments to the proposed project plan.  As a result, it is likely that ICANN will publish a revised project plan in April 2012, also for public comment.

Additional comments on the current published project plan are welcomed to help shape the revision.

The IDN Variant Issues Project

ICANN is pleased to announce the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB] and the posting of the proposed project plan [PDF, 211 KB] for the next steps of the IDN Variant Issues Project for public comment.  The report explores the issues associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. The report also includes recommendations for additional work for taking the issues identified in the report and identifying potential solutions.

On 23 December 2011, the IDN Variant Issues Team published the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.06 MB] for public comment. The report has now been updated to reflect the community feedback and published as the final Integrated Issues Report to conclude the second phase of the project. A version of tracked changes [PDF, 1.02 MB] from the draft report is also provided.

The Report marks the completion of Phase II of the Variant Issues Project. Following the recommendations identified within, the project team has created a project proposed plan for the next steps of the project and seeks community feedback. The public comment box is available at: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/idn-vip-proposed-project-plan-20feb12-en.htm

The IDN Variant Issues Proposed Project Plan for Next Steps along with the final Integrated Issues Report will be presented to the community during the ICANN public meeting to be held in Costa Rica during March 2012.

The IDN Variant Issues Project [PDF, 195 KB] was initiated by the ICANN Board of Directors in 2010.

Afilias Announces Intention to Apply for Chinese IDN Versions of .INFO Domain

DUBLIN–(Afilias Limited, the ICANN-designated registry operator for the .INFO top level domain (TLD) and a global provider of technical registry services, today announced that it will apply for the Simplified and Traditional Chinese language equivalents of .INFO under ICANN’s new gTLD program.

“Given the global presence of Afilias, Internationalized Domain Names — informally known as IDNs — have always been of great interest to us. We were the first company to launch IDN email, and believe that having IDN equivalents of .INFO for the world’s most populated country, in its primary languages, will be a major benefit to all Internet users in China,” said Ram Mohan, Executive Vice President and CTO, Afilias.

Roland LaPlante, Afilias Senior Vice President and CMO, said, “ICANN will only accept applications for new gTLDs between January 12, 2012, and April 12, 2012. Since it will likely be several years before anyone can again apply for an IDN version of a gTLD, we’re pleased to lead the way for IDN use and adoption.”

Afilias will support the new Chinese versions of .INFO with the same technology that will support many other new TLD applications: a state-of-the-art EPP registry, a globally diverse and redundant Anycast DNS network, 24×7 call-center and technical support, and links to the global distribution channel. In addition, Afilias provides other premium solutions to augment its registry offerings, including technology to enable mobile phone compatibility for websites and a unique IDN-capable email solution.

All Afilias services are DNSSEC and IPv6 ready, and reflect more than 10 years of experience in supporting gTLDs operating under ICANN contracts.

IDN Variant Issues Project: Draft Integrated Issues Report

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose
On 20 April 2011, ICANN announced the IDN Variant Issues Project to explore the benefits and risks associated with the potential inclusion of IDN variant TLDs in the DNS root zone. This project was initiated in response to a 2010 ICANN Board of Directors resolution

ICANN is publishing today for public comment the draft Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 1.1 MB], a study of the issues that this project has identified in relation to the management of IDN variant TLDs. It represents the result of the completion of the second phase of the project.

The first phase involved the formation of six case study teams for the Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Greek and Latin scripts. These teams were comprised of community experts with support by ICANN and worked on identifying issues related to IDN variant TLDs for each particular script, resulting in the publication in October of six individual reports detailing their findings.

The second phase focused on integrating those six case study reports into the Integrated Issues Report. To complete this phase, ICANN formed a coordination team comprised of experts from each of the case study teams. The coordination team advised ICANN in completing the Integrated Issues Report, which summarizes and categorizes the various issues related to the identification and management of IDN variant TLDs.

ICANN is now seeking community input on the issues discussed in this draft report. The report will be updated to reflect community feedback and the final Integrated Issues Report will be presented to the ICANN Board of Directors during their meeting at the ICANN public meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012.

Following publication of the final Integrated Issues Report, ICANN will facilitate work toward determining the conditions under which certain types of variant TLDs could be implemented.  Future work may also involve developing tools, processes, and protocols to support specific solutions, in cooperation with the appropriate experts.  For the purpose of arriving at a determination on whether variant TLDs can be delegated, it is expected that the required work can be completed in calendar year 2012.

Section II: Background
On 25 September 2010 the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) directed the CEO “to develop an issues report identifying what needs to be done with the evaluation, possible delegation, allocation and operation of gTLDs containing variant characters IDNs as part of the new gTLD process in order to facilitate the development of workable approaches to the deployment of gTLDs containing variant characters IDNs.” (http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-25sep10-en.htm-2.5

In response, ICANN conducted six case studies of individual scripts to investigate any issues associated with delegating and using IDN variant TLDs that need to be resolved to facilitate a good user experience.

The next phase focused on integrating those six case study reports into the draft Integrated Issues Report, which is being posted here for public comment.

Section III: Document and Resource Links
Documents posted for comment 

Additional Resources

Section IV: Additional Information
None
Staff Contact: Kurt Pritz Email: kurt.pritz@icann.org

Revised IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan

15 December 2011

Following the ICANN Board’s approval on 8 December 2011 of the amendment to the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan, ICANN is providing this notice of publication for the Revised Implementation Plan. This amendment was considered following guidance received from the ccNSO during the ICANN meeting in Dakar, Senegal.

Two versions are posted: 1) the revised IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/idn-cctld-implementation-plan-15dec11-en.pdf [PDF, 851 KB]) and 2) a version that tracks the changes from the previous version (http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/idn-cctld-implementation-plan-redline-15dec11-en.pdf [PDF, 902 KB]). The community should take note that the original version of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan is now archived and superseded by the Revised Implementation Plan.

Background

On 26 October 2011, the ccNSO Council approved a resolution and communicated it in a letter from ccNSO Chair to ICANN Board Chair asking the Board to direct staff to amend the relevant sections of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Implementation Plan. The amendment is to address specific cases when a requested IDN ccTLD string may be confusingly similar with the two-letter ASCII ccTLD corresponding to the same country or territory.

This work was developed out of the ccNSO Council Resolution from the ICANN meeting in San Francisco in March 2011. This resolution requested a sub-group of the IDN ccPDP Working Group 1 to develop, as soon as possible, guidelines (within the framework of the existing rules for the Fast Track) to improve the predictability of the evaluation process relating to string confusion as defined in the IDNC WG Final Report and the Final Implementation Plan, as adopted by the ICANN Board in November 2009.

ICANN conducted an initial review of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process and its implementation between October 2010 – January 2011. A summary and analysis was published in February and the Board acknowledged the Fast Track review at the ICANN meeting in March 2011.

The IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process Implementation Plan was approved by the ICANN Board at its meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea in October 2009. A link to the original Implementation Plan may be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/idn-cctld-implementation-plan-16nov09-en.pdf [PDF, 498 KB]