May 192014


Universal acceptance of top level domains hasn’t really meant much to most Internet users up until now. As long as .COM was basically the default TLD, there wasn’t much of an issue.

No longer. With 263 delegated strings (according to ICANN’s May 12, 2014 statistics) adding to the existing 22 gTLDs that were already live on the net after the 2004 round of Internet namespace expansion, the problem of universal acceptance gets very real.

What is the issue? Being able to use any TLD with any browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox…) or email client (outlook, Apple mail…), no matter what the environment (Mac, Windows…). Non-ASCII Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) have made the issue even more crucial because universal acceptance is needed to fulfil their promise: giving millions of people who use different keyboards and scripts access to an “own language” Internet use they’ve never been able to experience up until now.

Non-Latin script TLDs are considered one of the most important Internet naming innovations of the last decade because they are key to reducing the digital divide between those who are comfortable typing ASCII web addresses and those who are not. Those whose native alphabets are Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic or others have jumped at the chance to type their own scripts into the address bars. The high registration volumes reached by IDN ccTLDs like .рф (Romanised as .RF for Russian Federation) or more recently the Chinese character new gTLDs launched by TLD Registry .在线 (.ONLINE) and .中文网 (.WEBSITE) are clear indications of the pent-up demand for non-Latin script web addresses.

Read the full article on Circle ID.