Cyrillic Internationalised Domain Names Launched

Following on from last week’s report on the introduction of internationalised domain names (IDNs) in Arabic languages, Russia has introduced the first Cyrillic country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) IDN.The announcement of the launch of the Cyrillic IDN occurred at an Internet Governance Forum meeting last week in Moscow when Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s CEO and President, handed over the administration certificate.The new IDN ccTLD is “РФ” and means that Russians and other users of Cyrillic languages will now have complete domain names available to them in their own language. The introduction of . РФ was lobbied for by both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, both self-confessed keen internet users.”I have just checked, the website президент.рф is up and running. The Cyrillic website of the government downloads too. The websites of other state departments will have Cyrillic domains ready this month. Commercial companies will be able to use Cyrillic domain names a bit later. Russia has become the first country in the world which obtained the national domain of the top level,” Medvedev told the Russian newspaper Pravda.The first two .РФ domains launched were for the websites of the Russian president and government. Domain names using the .РФ ccTLD will be available for registration by eligible registrants as of October 1.The introduction of IDNs was also the subject of three short essays from prominent writers in India and China and an assistant professor of Arabic literature at New York University. What the introduction of IDNs means to Hindu, Chinese and Arabic internet users is discussed. While all three welcome their introduction, two of the three say the claimed benefit of IDNs is overstated while the Chinese writer suggests that for Chinese internet users, domain names in Chinese will give more meaning and depth. The three short essays are available from www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/opinion/16domain.html.This article was originally written for eBrand Services.