Jul 282014



An article written by Sedo’s VP of Business Development for new gTLDs asserts that the new gTLD wave is strongest in China.

Whilst new gTLD awareness is said to be relatively low in the US, it’s apparently much higher in China. Quoting from a recent Sedo survey, the article claims that 54% of US respondents said they were unaware of the new Internet suffixes. With Chinese respondents, that number falls to only 4%!

How to explain such an astounding difference? One reason is clearly IDNs (Internationalised Domain Names) – the non ASCII character web addresses that are a major part of the new gTLD program and which give Internet users in China much more comfort when surfing the web.

This makes perfect sense. So far, ASCII new gTLDs are little more than gimmicks. Fancy and new they may be, but they still remain .COM clones at heart. Not so with IDNs. They bring real innovation to those millions of non-English savvy users that have laboured to type strange characters into their web browsers for years and are eager for a chance to use their own scripts.

The commercial possibilities alone are staggering. Brands, be they Chinese or ROW (Rest Of World), now have great new signposts at their disposal to point Chinese (or indeed Russian, Arabic, Korean and many other geographies) customers to their websites. And many other new IDNs are on the way!

As more and more of them roll out, the real challenge remains Universal Acceptance. The term refers to the ability for any new gTLD, be it ASCII or IDN, to be used seamlessly with any browser or any email client. Universal Acceptance is a prerequisite for any widespread adoption of IDNs and right now, it’s far from being achieved, as this article points out.

China is clearly ready for new gTLDs. It’s now up to ICANN and the technical community to make sure that demand can be met.