This post has been syndicated (and slightly edited to reflect updates) from a post by SEO expert Bill Hartzer.
Google, in an effort to protect their interests in their new Google+ Plus social network, has recently acquired the International Domain Name (IDN) +.com, also known as xn--dra.com. The problem here is that xn--dra.com (+.com) is an illegal domain name–the domain name violates IDNA2008, as published by the IETF.
The use of the + character in the .com TLD is not allowed, and violates IDNA2008. Under current Verisign .com rules, it appears that the +.com domain name cannot be renewed, and according to Mozilla, IDNs are not allowed on the .com TLD.
I realize that Google would want to protect their brand and protect their new Google+ Plus social network by purchasing the +.com domain name. But from what I can tell, this was a mistake–especially because the +.com is not allowed in the .com TLD.
It doesn’t look to me like Google “did their homework” when they purchased that domain name.
What has been disallowed in IDNA2008 (IDN in application, a standard for handling IDNs in apps) is most symbol domains. IDNA2003 (the previous version of IDNA, still running in most applications as of right now, including browsers) allowed symbols.
See here to compare how the domain is handled:
In IDNA2003 it worked fine, in UTS46 (a transition standard between IDNA2003 and IDNA2008) it still worked fine, but in IDNA2008, it won’t resolve. At this point, when +.com does come up for renewal, we do not know whether or not the domain will be allowed by Verisign.
I have obtained a copy of the email from Verisign to Registrars regarding the deletion of certain domain names that are not allowed under IDNA2008. Below is the email:
As you may know, the IETF/IESG has adopted RFC 5891, which applies to Internationalized Domain Names in Application (“IDNA”). Compliance with this new RFC is necessary to ensure the security and stability of registry operations. RFC 5891 affects allowable second level strings in IDN domain names. As such, and in compliance with RFC 5891, Verisign implemented filters to block registration of disallowed strings, and updated our Software Development Kit in early Q1 2011. In addition, Verisign will insure compliance with RFC 5891 by deleting existing domain names and child hosts from the .com and .net databases.
You are hereby given 120 calendar days notice that Verisign will delete the attached registered names from the .com and/or .net databases. The attached names will be deleted on the 121st calendar day after the date of this notice, as measured by United States Eastern Time.
As a courtesy, Verisign will issue a credit to your account with Verisign for any deleted domain names pursuant to this notice, which will be calculated as follows: for each deleted domain name, Verisign will determine the remaining registration period as of the date of this notice and round it up to the nearest year.
Pursuant to Section 2.11 of the .com and .net Registry-Registrar Agreements, registrars are required to comply with (and include in their registrant agreements) an obligation for the registrant to comply with, operational standards, policies, procedures and practices of the registry as established from time to time. As such, you are directed to provide immediate notice (and in no event later than ten (10) calendar days after the date of the instant notice) of these actions to the affected registrants.
[Hat tips to Drewbert and JS Lascary]