PIR announce Four New gTLD’s IDN of .ORG

The Registry Submits Applications to ICANN for Four Top-Level Internationalized Domain Names

RESTON, Va., May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Public Interest Registry( http://www.pir.org ) (PIR) – the not-for-profit operator of the .ORG domain – today applied for the creation and management of four internationalized domain names (IDNs) recognized as .ORG in non-Latin-based scripts. As part of its application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), PIR submitted for the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that translate “organization,” “org” or “structured organization” into Devanagari, Cyrillic and Chinese-simplified scripts. The four applications- one in Devanagari, one in Cyrillic, and two in simplified Chinese- were filed as part of ICANN’s global Internet expansion initiative which will go into effect as early as 2013.

“With each IDN launch, the Internet takes a big step toward becoming a truly global entity,” said Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry. “These specific IDNs help ensure the Internet’s accessibility and availability to millions of individuals worldwide – especially those who do not speak Latin-based languages like English, French, German and Spanish, and who were previously offline or only use the Internet in a limited way.”

PIR took the first step in supporting non-English languages in 2005 through the introduction of IDNs at the second level – IDNs where the name (left of the dot) is in a non-English language and the gTLD (right of the dot) remains in English. While these second-level IDNs proved useful in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Poland and Korea (among others), they do not directly address communities who use languages such as Arabic or Chinese that are either character-driven or read right to left. These four new IDNs will provide a holistic, in-language domain name for native speakers of Devanagari, Cyrillic and Chinese, resulting in a consistent end-user experience and overall adoption of IDNs.

“Conservative estimates show that at least 20 percent of the world’s population speaks in a language derived from these scripts,” added Mr. Cute. “The Chinese IDN, for example, will make the Internet more user-friendly by enabling relevant Internet users to write a domain name or URL exactly the way it is supposed to be written in its native language – without substitution or translation.”

In addition to applying for the four IDNs, PIR also submitted an application for the creation and management of the .NGO and .ONG domain names. Since its inception in 2002, PIR has served the interests of not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) online. The registry plans to expand its position as an advocate for these communities by providing an exclusive domain extension for NGOs looking for immediate recognition online and broader opportunities for public engagement, funding and partnerships.

ICANN plans to announce all TLD applicants in June and will review all applications during a “batching process” in the months ahead. For more information on PIR, please visit www.pir.org.

About Public Interest Registry Public Interest Registry (PIR) is a nonprofit corporation that operates the .ORG top-level domain — the world’s third largest “generic” top-level domain with more than 9.9 million domain names registered worldwide. As an advocate for collaboration, safety and security on the Internet, PIR’s mission is to empower the global noncommercial community to use the Internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among Internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system. Public Interest Registry was founded by the Internet Society in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA.

SOURCE Public Interest Registry

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
Staff Contact: Kurt Pritz Email: kurt.pritz@icann.org