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02|19|2009 10:27 pm EDT

VeriSign Looking For Ways to Solve the Industry’s International Language Issues

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News

In their latest Industry Brief (.pdf), VeriSign announced it is working with other members of the Internet community to provide a way for people of all languages to navigate the internet. The two most notable methods they are pursuing include implementing international domain names (IDNs) represented by local language characters for ccTLDs and creating new generic TLDs based on non-ASCII characters.

The year 2008 ended with a total base of 177 million domain name registrations across all TLDs worldwide. As usual, the internet is growing at a rapid pace with registrations increasing by over 20 million domains for the fourth consecutive year and more people gaining access to the internet every day. Currently there are over 1.2 billion internet users across the globe including approximately 500 million from areas where English and other Latin-based languages are not the primary language.

As the internet continues to develop internationally,  new solutions must be introduced to make it easier for people to use their native language online.

One method Verisign and others in internet community are looking into is to have domain names represented by local language characters (such as Japanese Kanji symbols) and follow them with a traditional domain extension, such as .com or .net.

Currently over 47 domain registries support IDNs, but there are a number of concerns regarding ease of use, browser support, and local network limitations. Because of this, it is crucial for the Internet community to develop a fully localized navigation experience by internationalizing the TLD itself.

“The potential for internationalized TLDs to ensure a universally accessible Internet is promising, but it must be done right,” said Jill McNabb, VP of Naming Services at VeriSign. “A careless or rushed approach will expose the community to a high risk of failure over technical and business issues. VeriSign is committed to working with ICANN and others to achieve a safe, consistent, and ubiquitous user experience, while protecting company brands and their customers around the world.”

VeriSign has joined ICANN and others in pursuing the development of Internationalized TLDs. Although there are many challenges in the way, a new gTLD program is expected to be underway late this year as ICANN has already been testing and evaluating internationalized strings of “example.test” in 11 scripts in the DNS root zone to ensure stability and security.

VeriSign International Domains

[via VeriSign]

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6 Comments

Dan

February 20, 2009 @ 10:16 am EDT

http://www.???.com is a cool Russian language search site

Domain Superstar

February 20, 2009 @ 12:18 pm EDT

So if this goes through, would there be a mapping between the domains? In other words, if I bought domain.cn, would I also own the equivalent domain with the Chinese version of the tld?

Frank Michlick

February 20, 2009 @ 8:48 pm EDT

@domain superstar: As far as I understand you would have to buy both of them separately.

I’d say this is mostly an experiment at this point which also helps Verisign to advertise the services they can provide for IDN TLD should they be introduced as part of the new TLD project.

Drew

February 21, 2009 @ 2:59 pm EDT

>http://www.???.com is a cool Russian language search site

Have a play with http://???.com too – heavily weighted to keyword domains :)

Drew

February 21, 2009 @ 3:07 pm EDT

>As far as I understand you would have to buy both of them separately.

For the ccTLD’s since they’re playing in their own special sandpit, I think each one will chose which way they do it.

.jp for example, has publicly stated a number of times that they will alias the 2 zone files, so when you buy of have one, you’ll automatically get the other.

This is actually already done at the SLD level with .biz for instance – where if you buy a simplified chinese IDN, you automatically get assigned the traditional variant too.

This is a far better system than, say, how .com/net is operating presently, where if you register the simplified variant, the traditional variant is locked off and cannot be registered. This makes it difficult for companies that operate both in China and Hong Kong – they have to chose whether they want their company name to be able to be read correctly by their Chinese clients or their Hong Kong ones – can’t have both!

Drew

February 21, 2009 @ 3:08 pm EDT

oops. typo. try:

” so when you buy or have one (already)”

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