Tag Archives: internationalised domain names

ICANN Announces Successful String Evaluation for Israel IDN ccTLD

ICANN Tuesday announced the successful completion of String Evaluation of the proposed Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) country code top-level domain (ccTLD) string for Israel.

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ICANN: Recommendations for Managing Internationalized Domain Name Variant TLDs Published

ICANN today [5 Feb] announced the release of the Recommendations for Managing Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Variant Top-Level Domains (TLDs) as a collection of six documents. These recommendations have been developed by the ICANN organization with community feedback received during the Public Comment period.

  1. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Executive Summary [PDF, 70 KB]
  2. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Motivation, Premises and Framework [PDF, 391 KB]
  3. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Recommendations and Analysis [PDF, 382 KB]
  4. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Rationale for RZ-LGR [PDF, 497 KB]
  5. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Risks and their Mitigation [PDF, 230 KB]
  6. IDN Variant TLD Implementation – Appendices (A: Definitions, B: Use of ROID, C: Limiting Allocated Variant TLDs) [PDF, 530 KB]

While the Internet community has often expressed a need for IDN variant TLDs, appropriate technical details and procedures have not been in place to support these. The ICANN Board resolved on 25 September 2010 that “no variants of gTLDs will be delegated … until appropriate variant management solutions are developed.” Subsequent work by the ICANN org and the community on the analysis of issues for Arabic [PDF, 1.06 MB], Chinese [PDF, 2.86 MB], Cyrillic [PDF, 1 MB], Devanagari [PDF, 461 KB], Greek [PDF, 354 KB], and Latin [PDF, 425 KB] scripts in 2011, integrated in the Integrated Issues Report (IIR) [PDF, 2.14 MB] (2012), identified two challenges: (i) there is no accepted definition for variant TLDs, and (ii) there is no ‘variant management’ mechanism for TLDs.

For the first issue, the Root Zone Label Generation Rules (RZ-LGR) Procedure [PDF, 1.39 MB] was developed with the support of the community and adopted by the ICANN Board on 11 April 2013 for implementation. The Procedure has been implemented and RZ-LGR has been developed for six scripts, while other scripts are being added as their proposals are finalized by the relevant script communities. This enables a transparent and predictable mechanism for identification of variant labels going forward.

For the second issue, the ICANN org has undertaken a detailed examination to develop a set of recommendations on variant management mechanisms for TLDs, which have been finalized based on the community input. The recommendations, in summary, include the following:

  1. RZ-LGR must be the only source for valid TLDs and their variant labels.
  2. IDN variant TLDs {t1, t1v1, …} must be allocated to same entity.
  3. Same label under IDN variant TLDs s1.{t1, t1v1, …} must be registered to the same entity.
  4. Second-level variant labels under IDN variant TLDs {s1, s1v1, …}.{t1, t1v1, …} must be registered to the same entity.
  5. Second-level IDN tables offered under IDN variant TLDs must be harmonized.
  6. IDN variant label allocatable or activated under IDN variant TLDs may not necessarily be the same.
  7. The registry service providers must be the same for IDN variant TLDs.
  8. Existing policies and associated procedures for TLDs must be updated to accommodate the recommendations for IDN variant TLDs.
  9. All remaining existing TLD policies must apply to IDN variant TLDs, unless otherwise identified.

These recommendations and associated analysis in the six documents will be presented for further consideration to the ICANN Board, anticipated in March 2019.


ICANN‘s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

PIR Calls For Board Nominations

Public Interest Registry logoThe Public Interest Registry (PIR), who operates a number of gTLDs including .org, ngo and .ong and associated internationalised domain names, has begun accepting nominations for their Board of Directors.

In 2019 there are three positions opening on the PIR Board. The three directors will serve a 3-year term that begins mid-year 2019 and expires mid-year 2022. PIR says prior board experience is preferred. All directors must be able to read and understand a balance sheet, as well as read and communicate effectively in the English language.

There are approximately 15 full days per year for face-to-face meetings (not including travel time), regular conference calls (generally monthly), and daily email correspondence. Directors that participate in all meetings are eligible to accept compensation up to US$12,000 per year

The deadline for nominations is 15:00 UTC on February 4, 2019. Interested candidates should submit this form. More information is available here.

Unwitting Mobile Internet Users Victims of IDN Homograph-Based Phishing Campaign

Unwitting mobile internet users are becoming the victims of an ongoing internationalised domain name (IDN) homograph-based phishing campaign. The suspected phishing websites purport to be those of commercial airline carriers, including Delta, RyanAir and EasyJet, and are offering free tickets, but, instead, appear to subject the user to a bait-and-switch scam according to research from Farsight Security.

The suspected phishing websites present the user with the promise of free airline tickets if they answer four innocuous questions (the responses don't seem to matter) Farsight report. Once the user answers the questions, they’re instructed to share the “offer” with 15 WhatsApp contacts before being redirected to another URL where presumably the user is prompted to enter credit card details.

As Farsight observed, the domain names for the suspected phishing sites are IDN homographs (lookalikes of well-known sites that switch out certain Basic Latin characters for homoglyph characters from similar scripts). They presented as being sourced from Delta Airlines, EasyJet and RyanAir

Farsight note that those familiar with current and recent phishing campaigns will recognise that this campaign appears to be a fork of the recent “Free Adidas” phishing campaign. This particular campaign underscored how easily a brand on the Internet can be used fraudulently and one campaign can be repurposed to attack a different and unrelated sector.

In an effort to make the pages seem more legitimate and familiar, they all include a Facebook-like section where it is made to appear as though a number of users have liked or loved the “post” along with a handful of positive comments.

Domain Names Soon In All Of India’s 22 Languages

Universal Acceptance Steering Group logo

It will soon be possible to register domain names in all 22 of India’s scheduled languages, including 9 Indian scripts.

“Work is on for nine Indian scripts – Bengali, Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil and Telugu. These scripts are expected to cover many different local languages,” ICANN India head Samiran Gupta told PTI.

Currently just over half (52%) of the world’s population has access to the internet. One of the means of bridging the digital divide is to enable domain names in as many language scripts, known as internationalised domain names, as possible around the world to allow internet users to type in and read internet addresses in their own languages.

“Many of the remaining 48% are non-English speaking people and those who do not have the ability to type in English. The work will allow domain names to be available for these people in their languages,” the ICANN India head said in the PTI article.

There is currently a community-based panel in India to allow the domain names in regional languages, which in turn would enable the system to publish local language content being searched.

“This work for defining rules for the domain names for languages spoken in India is underway with a dedicated community based panel,” Gupta said.

According to PTI, the Neo-Brahmi Generation Panel, as it is called, consists of more than 60 technical experts and linguists from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Singapore, where these languages and scripts are used, Gupta said.

The proposals for six scripts – Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Kannada, Oriya and Telugu – are already released for public comment. “One can review these proposals and provide comments by visiting icann.org/idn,” he said. Currently there are 4.2 billion Internet users globally which may rise to 5 billion by 2022, Gupta said.

For more information on internationalised domain names, see

Verisign Launches Hebrew gTLD As It Struggles To Make An Impact With IDN gTLDs

Verisign has launched a phased rollout of the קום. new gTLD with a Sunrise period having commenced on 30 July and running through until 4 September. The registry operator for .com and .net has struggled to make an impact with the first 3 of their IDN gTLDs that launched into General Availability 2 years ago as registrations haven’t even made the 15,000 mark to date.

The Hebrew script internationalised domain name is a transliteration of .com, but also translates to “place” or “get up” if you use an online translation service. It takes to 11 the number of IDN new generic top level domains from Verisign. 3 of these have made it to General Availability – .コム, Japanese for .com, which has 6,570 registrations according to nTLDstats, .닷컴 (Korean for .com – 6,470) and .닷넷 (Korean for .net – 1,557). The remaining 7 are yet to launch and there are 14,600 domain names registered across the gTLDs.

The קום. gTLD is aimed at companies wanting to build their credibility, grow their business and expand their customer base within the Hebrew-speaking community. A domain name in קום. can also be used to redirect users/potential customers to company social media or e-commerce pages. Moreover, registering a Hebrew domain name in קום. can help make business and individual website addresses easier to type and remember for native Hebrew speakers. Notably, a Verisign survey conducted in Israel in September 2017, comprised of 150 decision makers in small and medium-sized businesses with up to 30 employees, found that 69 percent of respondents would register a domain name that’s fully in Hebrew if they could.

Prospective registrants who wish to register a domain name during the Sunrise Period for קום. must have a valid Signed Mark Data (SMD) file from ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse at the time of registration. During the Sunrise Period, these prospective registrants will be able to register each available second-level domain name (SLDN) in קום., that is an exact match of each SLDN permitted by their SMD file(s). All registrations during the Sunrise Period will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Following the Sunrise Period, there will be a Priority Access Program Period for קום. – an exclusive registration period during which eligible .com registrants will have the exclusive right to register the SLDN in קום. that is an exact match of their existing SLDN registered in .com, provided that the registrant registers the matching SLDN in קום. through the registrar that is the registrar-of-record for the registrant’s existing SLDN in .com. All registrations during the Priority Access Program Period for קום. are subject to availability and the applicable registry policies.

A Landrush Program Period will follow the Priority Access Program Period for קום. and will be open to all potential registrants to register their domain names on a first-come, first-served basis in advance of the General Registration Period for an additional fee. Landrush will last approximately five weeks and will be followed by the General Registration Period.

The registration periods for קום. currently are:

  • Sunrise Period: July 30, 2018 at 00:00:00 UTC – Sept. 4, 2018 at 23:59:59 UTC
  • Priority Access Program Period: Sept. 5, 2018 at 00:00:00 UTC – Oct. 1, 2018 at 23:59:59 UTC
  • Land Rush Period: Oct. 2, 2018 at 00:00:00 UTC – Nov. 4, 2018 at 23:59:59 UTC
  • General Registration Period Start Date: Nov. 5, 2018 at 00:00:00 UTC
  • Trademark Claims Period: Sept. 5, 2018 at 00:00:00 UTC – Feb. 3, 2019 at 23:59:59 UTC (Mandatory
  • Trademark Claims Services during Priority Access Program Period, Land Rush Period, and first 90 days of General Registration Period).

Both IDN and ASCII SLDNs may be registered in קום.

Global Domain Registrations Climb Up, But .NET and New gTLDs Slide Down: Verisign

Global domain name registrations continue to rise, with approximately 332.4 million registrations at the end of 2017 across all top level domains, according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief out today. The increase for the fourth quarter was approximately 1.7 million domain names, or 0.5%, from the third quarter and 3.1 million, or 0.9%, year over year.

Within this slight increase there are notable declines – that of .net which declined to 14.5 million at the end of December from 15.0 million at the end of the third quarter and 15.3 million at the end of 2016. Five years ago at the end of 2012 there were 14.9 million .net registrations.

There was also a decline in the total number of new generic top level domains (new gTLDs) registrations. Among the new gTLDs there were approximately 20.6 million registrations, or 6.2% of total registrations across all TLDs. This was a decrease of approximately 0.5 million registrations, or 2.4% for the quarter, and approximately 5.0 million registrations (19.5%) year over year. The top 10 ngTLDs represented 48.9% of all new gTLD registrations.

But of course there were increases. The big behemoth, .com, saw registrations rise to 131.9 million at the end of 2017 compared to 130.8 million 3 months earlier, 126.9 million 12 months ago and 106.2 million at the end of 2012.

Total country code top level domain (ccTLD) registrations were approximately 146.1 million, a 1.0% increase over the third quarter of 2017, and a 2.4% increase year over year. Registrations at the end of the third quarter of 2017 were 144.7 million, 142.7 million 12 months ago and 110.2 million 5 years ago when the 12 month growth rate for ccTLDs was 21.6% in 12 months.

Without including .tk, ccTLD registrations increased approximately 0.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 0.5% increase compared to the third quarter of 2017 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 2.3 million registrations, or 1.8%, year over year.

The top 10 ccTLDs as of 31 December were .cn (China), .tk (Tokelau), .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .br (Brazil), .eu (European Union), .fr (France) and .au (Australia). As of the end of 2017, there were 302 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 65.5 percent of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 9.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 8.8 million for the fourth quarter in 2016 and 8.0 million 5 years earlier in 2012.

ICANN: Call for Experts to Study the Application of Root Zone Label Generation Rules

ICANN is forming a technical group to study how to apply the Root Zone Label Generation Rules (RZ-LGR) for the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and IDN generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The study group will be composed of technical subject matter experts on IDNs and the RZ-LGR from the Supporting Organizations (SOs), the Advisory Committees (ACs) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). The ICANN Board will consider recommendations developed by this study group to determine next steps.

Expert’s nominations should be emailed to IDNProgram@icann.org by 28 February 2018


IDN TLDs have been a priority for the ICANN Board for several years, based on the input from the community. The variant labels for IDN TLDs have been an important component for some script communities. Therefore, in 2010, the ICANN Board asked the ICANN org and the community to investigate feasible approaches for variant labels of IDN TLDs, while putting the variant TLDs on hold until the work was completed.

In 2012, the community examined various case studies for six scripts.The examination noted in the Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB], that there were two items to be addressed: (1) there was no universally acceptable definition of what may constitute a variant relationship between IDN TLD labels at the time; and (2) there was no variant management mechanism defined. Following this report, the ICANN org and the community developed the Procedure to Develop and Maintain the Label Generation Rules for the Root Zone in Respect of IDNA Labels [PDF, 1.39 MB] (RZ-LGR Procedure). This procedure defined what constitutes a variant relationship between IDN TLD labels. in 2013, the ICANN Board endorsed this procedure and asked the ICANN org and community to undertake it.

To date Arabic, Armenian, Cyrillic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Khmer, Korean, Lao and Thai script GPs have completed and submitted their RZ-LGR proposals. From these, Arabic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Khmer, Lao and Thai scripts have already been integrated into the second version of the RZ-LGR. Many of the remaining script communities are now in the process of finalizing their work.

With the availability of the RZ-LGR, the ICANN Board is now asking the ICANN community to recommend how to apply the RZ-LGR in a harmonized way to IDN TLDs in order to address the first item noted in the Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB], as a prerequisite to determine possible variant management mechanism.

Study Group Expertise and Composition

The study group members should have expertise in one or more of the following areas relevant for the IDN TLD labels.

  • IDNA2008, RFC 6912 and RFC 7940
  • Procedure to Develop and Maintain Root Zone Label Generation Rules
  • Script-based RZ-LGR proposal development
  • Technical evaluation for IDN new gTLDs and IDN ccTLDs
  • Unicode security considerations
  • IDN TLD usability challenges

The group will tentatively be composed of ten members: GNSO (2), ccNSO (2), SSAC (2), ALAC (2) and IAB (2).

Tentative Scope of Work

The study group will address the following topics focused on applying the RZ-LGR for existing and future IDN TLDs from a technical perspective. As appropriate, the study group may add more relevant topics.

  1. Validation of future TLDs using RZ-LGR
  2. Definition of variant TLDs and their disposition based on RZ-LGR and whether policy could further reduce allocatable variant TLDs
  3. Application of RZ-LGR on reserved IDN TLD labels
  4. Harmonized application of RZ-LGR across IDN TLDs, including IDN gTLDs and IDN ccTLDs
  5. Remaining requirements of security and stability evaluation of future IDN TLDs by the DNS Stability Panel after applying RZ-LGR

*This study is not intended to review the RZ-LGR Procedure developed by the community and endorsed by the ICANN Board.

Tentative Work Plan

Tentative steps and timeline are listed below:

  • Formation – March 2018
  • Analysis and identification of relevant issues – May 2018
  • Development of recommendations – August 2018
  • Finalization based on public comment – September 2018
  • Publication – October 2018

The group is anticipated to meet on a weekly basis and finalize the report in a period of six months.


ICANN‘s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

EURid Report Finds IDNs Lead to More Diverse Content

Internationalised domain names are a key component of a truly multilingual internet. It’s slow progress making the internet, and the Domain Name System, truly multilingual. The introduction of IDNs started around a decade ago with hybridised IDNs – that is the top level domain being in ASCII characters and IDN characters available for the second, or sometimes third, level.

The slow progress has been outlined in EURid’s recently released 2017 IDN World Report which updated on progress of their introduction. As of December 2016, more than 480 TLDs were offering IDNs (at top and second level). 400 of these were new gTLDs that were offering IDNs, including more than 30 IDN new gTLDs.

When hybrid IDNs were introduced they only partially addressed the issue. It was a satisfactory outcome for Latin-based scripts used by most European languages, where the IDN element would commonly reflect accents, or other diacritical marks on Latin characters. But, as the report notes, for speakers of languages not based on Latin scripts (for example, Chinese, Arabic), the hybrid IDN/ASCII domains were unsatisfactory. Right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic and Hebrew created bi-directional domain names when combined with left-to-right TLD extensions, requiring users to have a familiarity with both their own language, and Latin scripts in order to navigate the internet. This requires the internet users to not only be familiar with Latin characters but also requires internet users to change script when typing in web addresses, as well as potentially confusing the strict hierarchy of the DNS.

As of December 2016 there were approximately 8.7 million registered IDNs, making up just 3% of the world’s 331 million registered domain names. However growth is impressive, up 28% in the year from December 2015 to December 2016. The spike in growth was significantly affected by second level registrations under the Chinese ccTLD, .cn, which grew by more than 400% during the year.  Discounting the contribution of .cn, the underlying growth rate during 2016 was 4%, less than the previous year’s growth rate of 9%.

According to the report, where IDNs are in use, the language of web content is more diverse than it is with traditional ASCII domains. There is a long way to go before there is the same linguistic diversity online is as there is offline, but it appears IDNs are helping redress the balance, at least as far as the most-spoken languages are concerned.

As a result of EURid’s analysis of the language of content associated with IDNs, the report states:

  • IDNs help to enhance linguistic diversity in cyberspace
  • The IDN market is more balanced in favour of emerging economies
  • IDNs are accurate predictors of the language of web content.

In previous reports EURid have noted that language of web content tends to follow IDN script. IDNs accurately signal what languages will be found. The analysis in 2017, like in previous years, found the relationship between language of web content and IDN (gTLDs plus .eu) script is not random. There is a very high correlation between language of web content and the script of IDN associated with it. In other words the report notes, IDNs are in practice accurate predictors of the language in which their web content appears. Only English, which is commonly spoken around the world, is associated with a large number of scripts (Latin, Arabic, Cyrillic, Han, Katakana, Hiragana, Hangul, Greek, and others), and displays the more random pattern predicted in the “no connection” hypothesis.

EURid’s report found that in 2017 there has been a growth in Chinese language associated with IDNs, which reflects the growth of IDNs under .cn during 2016.

When it comes to registered IDNs just 3 scripts represent 90% of all registered IDNs: Han (associated with Chinese language), Latin, and Cyrillic script. Han, Katakana and Hiragana (associated with Japanese language), and Hangul (associated with Korean language) together represent 8% of IDNs. Major world scripts such as Arabic and Devanagari which support some of the world’s top 10 most spoken languages are barely represented in IDNs.

Since 2014, there has been a relative increase in the proportion of Han script domains from 34% to 48%, Han, Katakana and Hiragana has increased from 2% to 5%. In the same period, there has been a relative decline in the proportion of Latin script IDNs, from 41% to 30%, and Cyrillic script which has declined by 2% to 12% since 2014.

The increased popularity of Han script IDNs is attributable to strong growth of second level IDNs in the Chinese ccTLD, .cn.

EURid also has its own IDN in addition to their .eu – .ею. As part of their application for .ею, EURid committed to each IDN domain name in the EURid stable would be a single script as part of their application. As a result 1,430 existing Cyrillic script second level .eu IDNs were cloned under the new TLD. In addition, 943 new domain names were registered under the new TLD and by the close of 2016, there were a total of 2,373 .ею registrations.

Sri Lankan Community Preparing for a Multilingual Internet Using Local Scripts

ICANN logoICANN and local experts in policy, technical and linguistic fields convened in Colombo today [12 Dec] to introduce the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) program and launch the Sinhala Generation Panel (GP). The launch signifies an exciting future where the local community contributes towards developing secure and stable access to the Internet in Sinhala.

The Asia Pacific region is linguistically diverse. Of the 6,800 languages in the world, about half of them or 3,500 are spoken in APAC. 21 of the top 30 most spoken languages in the world are used in the region. This diversity adds challenges to the Internet domain name space.

IDNs are domain names represented by letters or characters from different scripts and writing systems. They offer the possibility of using the domain names in languages across the globe, including Sinhala, Tamil, Thai, Chinese, Hindi, and others. Thus, providing a truly multilingual Internet with greater flexibility and opportunities for billions of users,” said Sarmad Hussain, ICANN‘s IDN Programs Director.

“The ability for Internet users to come online in their native languages and scripts is a significant development for the Internet. As Sinhala is a commonly used language in Sri Lanka, the work by the Sinhala GP will lay the groundwork for allowing complete domain names in the Sinhalese language,” added Hussain.

The Sinhala GP comprises two Co-Chairs and a number of local community representatives from the policy, linguistic fields, as well as members with technical expertise in Sinhala language computing, Unicode and the Internet’s domain name system.

Harsha Wijayawardhana, Co-Chair of the Sinhala GP, said, “We are all extremely excited about this new development. The Sinhala GP will work on developing root zone label generation rules for the Sinhala script. There will be significant technical work involved, such as developing the rules for computers to understand how to form correct top-level domain names in Sinhala script. Our efforts will help to form the basis for allowing complete domain names in the Sinhala language.”

Earlier this week, members of the Sinhala GP attended a workshop to discuss the work plan and next steps. The Neo-Brahmi GP is also in Colombo this week. They are developing label generation rules for nine Neo-Brahmi scripts including Tamil, the other commonly used language in Sri Lanka. When both the Sinhala and Neo-Brahmi GPs’ work are completed, Sri Lankans can look forward to accessing the Internet’s domain name system using domain names in their scripts and languages.

Work has been completed by the respective GPs for the Arabic, Armenian, Cyrillic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Khmer, Lao and Thai scripts, and is underway for many more, including Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Korean, and Latin scripts. ICANN is currently calling for volunteers to form GPs for these four scripts: Hebrew, Myanmar, Tibetan and Thaana.

Enabling a Multilingual Internet – Additional Information

In addition to developing rules to form valid top-level domains (TLDs) in the local script, many computing systems need to be upgraded as they do not recognize or appropriately process new domain names, primarily because the TLD or IDN may be more than three characters in length or in an alternate format. The same is true for email addresses that incorporate these new extensions.

The Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), supported by ICANN, is a community-led, Internet industry-wide initiative working on creating awareness and identifying and resolving problems associated with the universal acceptance of domain names. To learn more, or report an issue with Universal Acceptance, please visit www.uasg.tech.


For more information on IDNs, please visit here.
For more information on UA, please visit here.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from: