Tag Archives: internationalised domain names

.HK Registry Applies for Chinese Character Version of TLD

The registry for .HK (Hong Kong) is introducing internationalised domain names with plans to introduce the Chinese version of the .HK country code and allowing all registrants with an existing .HK domain name to get the IDN version for free.

The Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation, the .HK registry, has applied to ICANN to introduce the Chinese character version, and if successful, with offer a buy one, get the other free with registrants receiving both versions of the domain name.

Since 2007 registrants of .HK domain names have been able to register all but the .HK part of the domain name in Chinese characters, and should ICANN grant HKIRC the Chinese character version of the .HK ccTLD it will mean registrants can have complete domain names in Chinese characters.

Asia Registry logoTo register your .HK domain name, check out Asia Registry here.

.EU Domains Now Available in All EU Languages

Eurid logoÄrzte.eu was the first.EU internationalised domain name (IDN) registered when .EU IDNs became available on 10 December. During the first hour alone 38,172 IDNs were registered.

“The significant number of registered names during the first hour shows how important it is for people across Europe to be able to access and use the internet in their own languages” said EURid’s General Manager Marc Van Wesemael.

The availability of .EU IDNs meant that for the first time, residents of the European Union can register a .EU domain name that uses characters from the whole Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets; for example the Polish ł, the Spanish ñ, the Danish ø, the French é, the Bulgarian л and the Greek θ.

Below is a list of the first ten .EU IDNs registered and the countries from which most registrants came for the first hour.

First 10 IDNs registered
1. ärzte.eu
2. börse.eu
3. flüge.eu
4. bücher.eu
5. ferienhäuser.eu
6. reisebüro.eu
7. büro.eu
8. küche.eu
9. müller.eu
10. öl.eu

Which countries registered the most IDNs in the first hour?
1. Germany
2. Czech republic
3. France
4. Luxemburg
5. Poland
6. Belgium
7. Great Britain
8. Greece
9. Sweden

Europe Registry logoTo register your .EU domain name, check out Europe Registry here.

.РФ Internationalised Domain Name will translate DNS in Russian

16 November 2009 – the day Russian Federation officially applied for Cyrillic domain .РФ (.RF) to ICANN. This event was preceded by two years of collaboration between ICANN, Russian government, local internet-society and key market players.The great beginning…Russian language has quite long history in DNS. First domain names in Cyrillic appeared in 2001 – as a test prior to introduction of second- and third-level IDNs (Internationalized domain names) they were registered by VeriSign in .COM and .NET. For example, there was a domain Кремль.com, analog to Latin Kremlin.com.In 2003, after IDNs were approved by ICANN and became available in various ccTLDs and gTLDs, the idea of Cyrillic domain names in .RU (Russian national TLD) emerged. To 2006 it was close to realization, but small incompleteness in the rules of registration of non-Latin domain names in .RU caused splash of cybersquatting. The fact was that the owners of .RU domains in Latin could pretend on graphically similar names in Cyrillic. This mistake compelled Russian registrars and then Coordination Center for TLD RU (registry for .RU) to declare against non-Latin names in Russian national domain. The final decline of the idea in the middle of 2007 was also caused by new initiative of ICANN – introduction of IDN top-level domains.In April 2008 just elected President Dmitry Medvedev got to know about this possibility in near future and declared creation of national Cyrillic TLD as a key priority for Internet development in Russia. Of course, such words speeded up Russian government’s activities in getting the IDN TLD. In June 2008 Russia sent to ICANN official letter of interest, which stated intentions of the country to get national non-Latin domain as soon as possible.Prior to this letter several polls were hold by local registrars and Coordination center for TLD RU intended to feel Russian internet-users’ out on the idea of introduction of Cyrillic domain zone. In particular, in such survey organized by RU-CENTER participated more than 10 000 users and about 60% of them said “yes” to Russian non-Latin top-level domain.But that time in Russia there were also enough people who didn’t understand the reason for creation of national IDN TLD. Due to the lack of information about this initiative they thought this domain might separate the country from global Web. Also they were afraid of cybersquatting and technical problems that in their opinion might occur after the appearance of Cyrillic symbols to DNS. Of course, most of their arguments against top-level IDNs were incorrect. For example, the idea that introduction of non-Latin TLD is a good chance for Russian government to build local Internet easy to control has nothing common with reality – web-sites in Cyrillic domain will be available from all over the world. Of course it will be hard to access them without Cyrillic keyboard, but in this case virtual keyboard might be easily downloaded and installed. It’s also important to mention, that all modern browsers support non-Latin domain names, so there is no threat they will be unavailable.Except the discussion about expediency of creation Cyrillic TLD, another one dispute emerged about possible designation of the domain. The main proposal was to use a combination of symbols “РФ” (RF) for this purpose, but some users had different opinion. They thought it would be better to call Russian top-level IDN “РУ” – this name is full Cyrillic analog to ccTLD RU. But such label could not be used, because written in small letters it was graphically similar to .py, Latin country-code domain of Paraguay. So, in case Russian .РУ had been approved, a huge risk of cybersquatting would have appeared. Also this designation had no chances to be chosen because it didn’t suite the rules, ICANN developed for IDN ccTLDs. First of all “РУ” didn’t contain unique Cyrillic symbols, and secondly it had no sense to local internet-society.In the long run “РФ” became the official name for Russian national top-level non-Latin domain. It happened in October 2008, when Russia filed prior application to ICANN on the issue. In that document Coordination center for TLD RU was proposed as a registry for Cyrillic TLD.During 2009 this organisation prepared technical and legal base for delegation domain .РФ (.RF) to Russia. On the 16 of November 2009 all documents necessary for introduction Russian IDN TLD were transferred to ICANN to be considered according to Fast Track process. The registration process in .РФ will start even before Russian application will be approved – on 25 November, 2009. According to plans of Coordination Center for TLD RU Russian non-Latin top-level domain will be delegated by IANA in the beginning of 2010.What’s next?To prevent cybersquatting from 25 November, 2009 to 25 March, 2010 names in .РФ will be available for registration only to Russian trademark owners. At this time domains in Cyrillic top-level IDN will be also reserved for governmental bodies.From 8 April, 2010 registration will be opened to everyone. It starts with “Holland auction”: the price for the domain names will be high in the beginning, reducing step by step to the usual price. This step is taken to provide fair distribution of most valuable domain names.The cost of registration in .РФ will come down to standard to July 2010 and will be the same as in ccTLD .RU or even lower. For the first year in Cyrillic TLD about 500 000 domains may be registered.The introduction of IDN .РФ will make Internet more convenient for Russian-speaking people, who will be able to type habital Russian words in address bar directly in Cyrillic without necessity to remember correct Latin transcripts of them. This opportunity will be especially useful for people who do not know English well: addresses in Russian make Web for them quite easy to access. It’s important for Russian authorities, who plan to provide all governmental services via Internet in the future.In such circumstances it’s no surprise that Russia has very strong motivation to get TLD .РФ. And today the country is as close to success in its aspiration, as it has never been before.The article was prepared by RU-CENTER, Russian domain name services provider, the biggest registrar in ccTLDs RU, SU and the accredited registrar in IDN TLD .РФ.

Egypt Submits Symbolic First Application for Internationalised Domain Name

Egypt, host of the United Nations sponsored Internet Governance Forum being held this week, Russia and China were among the first countries to submit applications to ICANN for internationalised domain names (IDNs) in non-Latin characters.In total six countries applied for IDNs in three languages. Saudi Arabia was another country known to have applied, also applying for an IDN in Arabic, along with Ukraine.ICANN, the organisation charged with overseeing the Internet’s naming and numbering systems, has invited applications for IDNs, receiving the first applications on Monday this week, as part of its IDN country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) Fast Track Process.IDNs are domain names that include characters other than the currently available set of the English alphabet (the 26 letters “a-z”, numbers 0 to 9, and hyphens). ICANN Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush noted, “The IDN program will encompass close to one hundred thousand characters, opening up the Internet to billions of potential users around the globe.”Egypt’s application is for .MISR, which is the equivalent in ASCII characters as the Arabic language term for “Egypt”. Egypt’s Communications Minister Tarek Kamel said the process of implementing IDNs would require “strong investment in the coming phase.””There will also be issues to deal with: linguistic, technical, legal, related to intellectual property and many other big challenges,” Kamel told reporters at the IGF.China’s application is for .中国 domain name suffix while Russia has applied for .РФ and Ukraine applied for .УКР.It is anticipated the first ccTLD IDNs will come online in 2010.

Egypt, China First In Line for Top Level Internationalised Domains

Egypt and China have both said they will be applying for country code internationalised top level domain names as part of ICANN’s fast track process. ICANN will begin accepting requests for the new TLDs today (16 November) at 00:00UTC.

Egypt is planning to launch “the world’s first Arabic language internet domain” with Egypt’s communications minister, Tarek Kamel, saying the new domain name would be “.masr” written in the Arabic alphabet. It translates as “.Egypt”, reports the BBC.

“The effort is part of a broader push to expand both access and content in developing nations, where the internet remains out of reach for wide swaths of the population,” reports the AP.

The report continues saying that “registering of the domain ‘will offer new avenues for innovation, investment and growth, and hence we can truly and gladly say … the internet now speaks Arabic,’ Kamel said at the start of the internet Governance Forum – a U.N.-sponsored gathering that drew Net legends like Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and Tim Berners-Lee, known as one of the internet’s founding fathers.”

China’s application is reported by the China Daily who says that the China Network Information Centre (CNNIC) will also apply for a Chinese TLD today (Monday). The report says CNNIC will apply for the top-level Chinese domain name “Zhongguo”(written in pinyin).

“China has a huge number of netizens – 388 million as of the end of June this year. Their surfing on the Net will be facilitated under the Chinese domains but they can continue to use English domains as well,” said Qilin, assistant director of CNNIC in China Daily.

ICANN President Rod Beckstrom described the importance of this change to the global Internet community, by saying “over half the Internet users around the world don’t use a Latin-based script as their native language. IDNs are about making the Internet more global and accessible for everyone.”

Once the requests are evaluated and approved, new ccTLD IDNs are expected to come online in many countries during 2010.

“This is the biggest technical change to the Internet’s addressing system – the Domain Name System – in many years,” said Tina Dam, ICANN’s Senior Director of Internationalized Domain Names. “Right now, it’s not possible to get a domain name entirely in for example Chinese characters or Arabic characters. This is about to change.”

Russian President Supports Introduction of .рф Cyrillic TLD

The introduction of internationalised domain names is being supported by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev who, in a briefing from the Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev, reproduced on the ISRIA website and translated into English, says that Russia will be submitting an application for the .рф TLD on 16 November when ICANN calls for applications. Medvedev says registration of internationalised domain names will commence at the end of November.In the briefing, Medvedev agrees with the proposition that government agencies and trademark holders will have first choice of .рф domain names “so that we do not end up later having to buy kremlin.рф or something of the sort from people with no connection to the Kremlin.”Medvedev also appears to be learning about the benefits of Cyrillic domain names with the interviewer suggesting .рф Cyrillic domain names be used to “to set up a government e-mail system in the .рф zone for communication between the state bodies and citizens. This will make it possible to speed up provision of a whole range of electronic services in areas where an electronic signature is not an absolutely imperative thing.”Medvedev asks if “the introduction of Cyrillic domain names and the spread of the .рф domain will help speed up the electronic government’s development?” When told this is the case he says “Well, that’s a good thing.”To read the briefing in full, check out the ISRIA website at:

ICANN Seoul meeting briefing note highlights new gTLD delays and IDN fast track approval

ICANN has published a briefing note for their latest meeting, the 36th international public meeting, held in Seoul, South Korea. There were 1,207 attendees from 111 countries that debated a wide range of issues such as generic Top Level Domains and internationalised domain names.The briefing note summarises some of the key discussions and what were the outcomes such as the approval of the fast track for IDNs by the board on the final day of the meeting (Friday), which will see a limited number of IDNs introduced into the internet’s root, possibly before the end of 2009.The introduction of new gTLDs was also another hot discussion point with the third version of the Applicant Guidebook, as well as a range of other papers and explanatory memoranda being produced for discussion at the meeting.The introduction of new gTLDs was delayed, again, with ICANN staff revising the deadline to the opening application date for new gTLDs. Instead of giving a date, or quarter, the launch date will be dependent on community efforts to find solutions to the overarching issues. This approach prompted some in the community to argue that ICANN needed to demonstrate its determination to the process.The result at the end of the week was a compromise solution, approved in a Board resolution, that asked staff to look into how to introduce a system for allowing “expressions of interest” to be shown in new gTLDs. That process may allow for likely demand to be gauged and provide useful data to move some discussions from theoretical to pragmatic.The Applicant Guidebook is out to public comment until 22 November.Issues that relate to the introduction of new gTLDs were also key discussion points. These included trademark protection, malicious conduct such as phishing, malware, the distribution of illegal content and so on and outstanding concerns that arose from demand and economic analysis studies.Other issues were security and stability, strategic planning, the Affirmation of Committments, GNSO improvements and independent reviews.To read more on the briefing note and to see in more detail what happened at the meeting in Seoul, see:

IDNs Mean 327 Key Keyboards!

Not every story on the soon to be introduced internationalised domain names is serious with The Spoof making light of their introduction by claiming “Megakey Company has announced a new line of computer keyboards that accommodate five languages.”

The story continues “Based on the standard QWERTY keyboard most familiar to North American, South American and European continents, the Megakey keyboard will contain an additional 327 keys arranged in circumference around the existing layout. The key groupings will include Russian Cyrillic, Japanese Kanji, Chinese Hanzi, Arabic Script, and U.S. Redneck Phonetics.”

To read the humorous posting on The Spoof website, see www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s5i62751.

ICANN: Public Comments Requested on Draft Topic Paper for Policy on Introduction of Internationalised ccTLDs

ICANN logoThe ccNSO’s Internationalised Domain Name Country Code Policy Development Process Working Group (IDN ccPDP WG) for the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs is pleased to announce the publication of its draft Topic Paper for public discussion and comment. The purpose of this Topic Paper is to identify and define the topics and issues that, in the view of the WG, need to be taken into consideration to propose a feasible policy for the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs. To be most helpful at this stage of the process, the WG seeks your input and comments on whether they have identified all relevant topics and issues that need to be addressed by a global policy for the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs.

Note that this is a draft document and has not been adopted by the Working Group, whose members will continue to provide their own comments and input during this consultation period.

The IDN ccPDP WG was chartered by the ccNSO Council as part of the ccNSO policy development process that is expected to result in a submission for ICANN Board approval of:

  • A global policy on the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs and,
  • Changes to Article IX of the iCANN Bylaws to include IDN ccTLD’s in the ccNSO.

According to its charter, the purpose and scope of the IDN ccPDP WG is limited to identifying and reporting on a feasible policy for the selection and delegation of IDN ccTLDs associated with the territories listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard. In fulfilling its purpose, the WG shall focus on, without limitation, examination of the topics raised in the joint GAC-ccNSO Issues paper. It shall also take into account the proposals and recommendations of the IDNC (Fast Track) Working Group and the Implementation Plan based on the work of the IDNC WG. For ease of comparing the draft Topic paper and the joint GAC-ccNSO Issues paper a document comparing the two is posted by the WG as well (ccnso.icann.org/workinggroups/ipwg1.htm).

To encourage comments and input on this paper the working group has extended the original date to 4 December 2009. To be most helpful submit your comments and input via email to idn-ccpdp@icann.org. An archive of all comments received will be publicly posted at forum.icann.org/lists/idn-ccpdp/.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from: