ICANN approves the use of non-Latin domain names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN for short) has approved the ability to create domain names containing non-Latin characters, according to a report from Yahoo! News.

As Neowin reported in October, ICANN announced that the organization had approved a multilingual address system which would make the Internet more accessible for those whose native language isn’t English. 

This means that web site owners in Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates can now create domain names using their native languages instead of being limited to traditional Latin ASCII characters, and may begin requesting domain names by the middle of 2010. In the future, it will be possible to write domain name addresses in all of the world’s languages.

"This marks a pivotal moment in the history of Internet domain names," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s chief executive and president, "these international names will now allow people to type entire domain names in their own language."

As of Thursday, ICANN had received sixteen applications in eight different languages; with over half of the world’s 1.6 billion Internet viewers using non-Latin languages. This is certainly a step in the right direction for moving the Internet forward.

A domain name is used in conjunction with one of the many name servers (also known as DNS servers) across the Internet to translate a common and often memorable text address into a numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address, which in turn allows a browser to request files, such as HTML pages, from web servers without the need to remember a specific IP address.

 

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sounds like a reasonable idea to me - after all an arabic website shouldn't require knowledge of latin script to access. Plus I am sure the likes of google and bing will be able to translate the URLs to English.
if you cannot read cyrillic or arabic script then those sites are unlikely to be of significant interest anyway without the google translate feature.

Urgh just no.
As has been said if you own a site you will now have to just register more domain names. On top of that you will always try to keep a strict latin one as well just due to the fact that a lot of users just don't have the same keysets and a couple of other facts.

Right now there's a similar upheavel here about having some non-strict latin characters in domain names here.

Basically summing it up as - website owners hate it. Joe users loves it, because he doesn't see the whole implications and registrating companies love it as well.

junk angel said,
... due to the fact that a lot of users just don't have the same keysets and a couple of other facts.

That's exactly why they're doing this - because not everyone has the same keyboards!

Edited by Tha Bloo Monkee, Jan 23 2010, 7:55pm :

My largest peeve is the financial implications for all end-users and/or site owners. Either they need to spend MORE money on domain registrations (based on desired audience), or end-users will have to spend MORE money on multi-language software programs just to type in a URL.

The way the internet was going though, everyone would have been able to speak English fluently over the next couple of generations. Now we're going to be stuck with even more confusion and miscommunication! Nah just kidding, but it would be nice if the whole word only spoke one language or two, at the most. And they had to be significantly different ones, so that by speaking both it just does more for your brain in terms of seeing words and word arrangements in a different manner.

Let's just go kill all those that don't use Latin alphabets. This way the world will be more peaceful for you. APH-Alex based on your idea we should just get rid of the foreigners or convert them. That is very ideally plausible. Other cultures or foreign speakers don't belong to the world. Is that right?

I don't see what the problem is at all. This is great for those who speak non-Latin-based languages. Maybe one day there will be accents in Latin-based languages too for the domain names. I've always wondered how annoying it would have to be to write in another language but have all your domain names in another alphabet.

To all those who say this is so bad: sorry the world isn't all Latin-based like you might think it is.

... with over half of the world’s 1.6 billion Internet viewers using non-Latin languages.

You have a valid point. Except, "using" is different from "understanding."

Although I do not "use" non-Latin on the Internet, it does not mean I do not understand non-Latin languages. Similarly, most non-Latin "users" of the Internet also understand and use Latin-based languages on the Internet.

Nas said,
... "using" is different from "understanding."

Not sure what your point is...
Nas said,
Similarly, most non-Latin "users" of the Internet also understand and use Latin-based languages on the Internet.

Nice assumption.

Edited by Tha Bloo Monkee, Jan 23 2010, 7:48pm :

I'm french, and I love my language, but for me internet has always been a place where all people were able to communicate, independently from their language or origin. And the "tool" that allowed that could only be a common language. It happens that it's English but it could have been another one and so I don't find it racist to say that those custom domain name are a bad idea, they're just going against one of the principles of internet that English is the conventionnal language. Should we allow a new type of HTML tags written in non-latin languages to allow everyone in the world to write HTML ?

On the technical side, there is XML (although it does not properly support anyting beyond UTF-8 or UTF-16).

On the social side, it can cause more division and isolationism. Although foreigners can tap into English-based platforms, Latin language technology must pay a very pretty dollar to properly access foreign-language systems. The documentation would be ridiculous.

say goodbye to dreams about one internet
now there will be one internet for people who write latin (alphabet) and one internet for people who write with arabic alphabet and another one for those with cyrllic and even one more for chineese?
dividing internet is bad, will bring more alienation between nations

SHADOW-XIII said,
say goodbye to dreams about one internet
now there will be one internet for people who write latin (alphabet) and one internet for people who write with arabic alphabet and another one for those with cyrllic and even one more for chineese?
dividing internet is bad, will bring more alienation between nations

yet again - what about peope who does not understand latin alphabet? it's almost half of the world. so they have no right to use the internet?

internet was never been single. it's always been divided by segments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runet

Edited by coth, Jan 23 2010, 11:46am :

coth said,

yet again - what about peope who does not understand latin alphabet? it's almost half of the world. so they have no right to use the internet?

internet was never been single. it's always been divided by segments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runet

yet it was fully accessible to all of us, now how I am suppose to get to those non-latin-domain webpages with my latin-alphabet-keyboard ? typing IP in address field?

coth said,

yet again - what about peope who does not understand latin alphabet? it's almost half of the world. so they have no right to use the internet?

Do you mean the 99% Internet-connected population of South Korea, or 98% Internet-connected population of Japan. How about the hundreds of millions of Chinese? All of those populations do not "understand" the Latin alphabet.

Of course, there is a thing called education. And another one called commerce. Yep, those countries have both of those things... SO what does that say about your point of view?

SHADOW-XIII said,
yet it was fully accessible to all of us, now how I am suppose to get to those non-latin-domain webpages with my latin-alphabet-keyboard ? typing IP in address field?

Just like Russians doing it right now. Enter what you need in searching service and it will give you a link.

Mikeyx11 said,
Why the focus on THREE Arabic-speaking countries, one Russian and no others?

Other will come later a bit. Just not so fast - in few rounds.

Mikeyx11 said,
Why the focus on THREE Arabic-speaking countries, one Russian and no others?

Language and commercial adoption. There is money involved, and these languages allow a broad test of the IT infrastructure.

If there's a problem, you don't want it to be with Indian or Chinese populations.

Mikeyx11 said,
Why the focus on THREE Arabic-speaking countries, one Russian and no others?

Most other countries with non-Latin languages already have English and the Latin alphabet embedded in their culture.


Besides Cyrillic and Arabic, that leaves mostly the Asian languages using non-Latin characters. Most countries in Asia are already extremely westernized and English is used a lot in their culture (hell, a lot of them even use Latin phonics to type their own language) or have dealt with English speakers throughout their history.

Edited by Xilo, Jan 24 2010, 1:50am :

from the descriptions on the intertubes it sounds pretty reasonable if it'd only be allowed on specific TLDs which are also non-latin, shouldn't pose much phishing problems.

primexx said,
from the descriptions on the intertubes it sounds pretty reasonable if it'd only be allowed on specific TLDs which are also non-latin, shouldn't pose much phishing problems.

expect to be called racist. GOD FORBID you expect to limit non-latin domains to SEPEARATE top level domains. It's intollerant and racist. It's going to be considered just another set of those nasty ol' jim crow laws, with their seperate but equal mentality. How dare you want to corral them!

Phising is a small price to pay to ensure everyone has equal access to your personal information and no feelings are hurt! That nice Nigerian man totally deserves your passport account because he registered the slight variation of live.com that looks identical in 99% of browsers and fonts.

man do people hate common sense when it dares to be non-pc.

Yes, i'm aware that seperate TLDs is going to be how wer'e likely moving forward FOR NOW... it won't last, .com/.net are too valuable to people

Edited by AgentGray, Jan 23 2010, 5:39am :

primexx said,
from the descriptions on the intertubes it sounds pretty reasonable if it'd only be allowed on specific TLDs which are also non-latin, shouldn't pose much phishing problems.

You can't phish on latin TLDs either. DNS servers don't actually understand unicode, so it is the browser which converts the non-latin characters into punycode. Browsers which support IDAs will display the punycode domain name instead of what was typed in.

For example:
If you bought "mícrosoft.com", you're actually buying xn--mcrosoft-c2a.com.

...Of course, if users don't read the address on the browser, it's entirely their fault.

Edited by Leddy, Jan 23 2010, 12:56pm :

Lawl at people abusing the word racist, no idea what it even means. It's not hatred, intolerance, or abuse. It's called complacency fostered from decades of global use and fear of its misuse to harm people.

thornz0 said,
Lawl at people abusing the word racist, no idea what it even means. It's not hatred, intolerance, or abuse. It's called complacency fostered from decades of global use and fear of its misuse to harm people.

Sounds like racist FUD. It is intolerance. "My language is more important than yours..."

Besides, the characters are limited to only certain super domains. You really think ICANN didn't consider phishing when approving this. "LAWL" please...

Shadrack said,
Sounds like racist FUD. It is intolerance. "My language is more important than yours..."

Besides, the characters are limited to only certain super domains. You really think ICANN didn't consider phishing when approving this. "LAWL" please...

Why is latin letters used? because they're easy to understand (along with cyrillic), simple and straight forward. I suggest some of these multicultural freaks go and try and understand needlessly convoluted and complicated languages like Arabic and tell me that Latin letters is some what more difficult.

It has nothing to do with race etc. It has to do with practical realities - embrace what is simple and works, reject that are needlessly complicated and pointless.

Shadrack said,
Yeah. Other languages are pretty pointless... /sigh

They are pointless when English is only actually 25% English in origin with the remaining made up of Turkish, German, Latin, French, Indian, Chinese etc. It is a truly international language that evolves with the requirements of the users.

rawr_boy81 said,
It has nothing to do with race etc. It has to do with practical realities - embrace what is simple and works, reject that are needlessly complicated and pointless.

Perhaps it's more the fact that the internet was invented by an English man. Perhaps if some Arab invented it, then yeah, that's good.

excalpius said,

Except that we INVENTED the Internet...


Yet it was Russia to invent satellites and data transmission over cables;)

coth said,

Yet it was Russia to invent satellites and data transmission over cables;)

Curiously enough, there is no AOL or Google for satellites and data transmissions over cable.

Nas said,

Curiously enough, there is no AOL or Google for satellites and data transmissions over cable.

Brin is a Russian emigrant, just to note. But s there any one from Russia who knows what is Google or AOL?;) Yes, main IM protocol is Russia is Oscar, but no one knowns that it relates to AOL, so as ICQ official client is almost unused.

rawr_boy81 said,

Why is latin letters used? because they're easy to understand (along with cyrillic), simple and straight forward. I suggest some of these multicultural freaks go and try and understand needlessly convoluted and complicated languages like Arabic and tell me that Latin letters is some what more difficult.

It has nothing to do with race etc. It has to do with practical realities - embrace what is simple and works, reject that are needlessly complicated and pointless.

1) You label those that oppose your views "multicultural freaks".
2) You think that Latin alphabets are easy to understand.
3) You stereo-type other language as "needlessly convoluted"
4) And then you claim that this has "nothing to do with race" issue?

You have a brain the size of a pea?

Hm... I'm going to go out on a limb and expect for this to be a massive headache... Lets see how Phishers take advantage of this...

freak180 said,
a sad day for online users.... a very sad day..

what a racist mentality. what about online users from non-latin countries? they have no clue even in single latin letter.

coth said,

what a racist mentality. what about online users from non-latin countries? they have no clue even in single latin letter.

How have they managed till now?

coth said,

what a racist mentality. what about online users from non-latin countries? they have no clue even in single latin letter.
These racist have no clue. Even "How have they managed till now?" sound quite logical to their head.

DanielZ said,
*sighs* When will everybody just give up the whole "languages" thing and accept English as the one true language?

forgot [/sarcasm] :)

Krome said,
These racist have no clue. Even "How have they managed till now?" sound quite logical to their head.

Oh f... off! the word racist is beeing abused these days. I can t stop laughing at so small minded persons that uses the word for any freaking reason. I suppose that Avatar was racist for you and that my post will be too. Stop hiding behind it, people abused and has no meaning anymore!!!

coth said,

what a racist mentality. what about online users from non-latin countries? they have no clue even in single latin letter.

Wrong. It's not racist.

This whole thing is crap. How am I meant to get to a site with an arabic domain - I can't type arabic! Ultimately, sites that use these domains are SEVERELY limiting their potential.

mrmckeb said,

Wrong. It's not racist.

This whole thing is crap. How am I meant to get to a site with an arabic domain - I can't type arabic! Ultimately, sites that use these domains are SEVERELY limiting their potential.

For one you can change your keyboard settings and two you can always use the alt codes! But you really if the url is going to be in arabic and you can't type arabic, then your probably not going to be able to read the website so you won't even have a point of going there!

mrmckeb said,

Wrong. It's not racist.

This whole thing is crap. How am I meant to get to a site with an arabic domain - I can't type arabic! Ultimately, sites that use these domains are SEVERELY limiting their potential.

Correct. It's not racist. It is selfish; your use of the word "I", I mean. Just because you can't write arabic means there shouldn't be arabic sites.

I mean, yes, it's terribly racist as well - in the south of France, they speak French! I was so surprised.

It's not bloody racist. The mentality of "how have they survived till now" is just fine, they have. China blocks a load of sites anyway, so they still won't be able to visit good percentage of them.

I wonder how many people out of the millions of Neowin users can speak/type or are not Arabic. Most of the population? I highly doubt it.

Krome said,
These racist have no clue. Even "How have they managed till now?" sound quite logical to their head.

Not anyhow. Domains are not being used by end users in most of non-latin countries. If you need to open some site you go to it over searching service. In Russia people does not use the address bar. They just open Yandex, that is set them by their wish as a home page by some sysadmin and types what the need all the time.

mrmckeb said,

Wrong. It's not racist.

This whole thing is crap. How am I meant to get to a site with an arabic domain - I can't type arabic! Ultimately, sites that use these domains are SEVERELY limiting their potential.


You are one-sided. Can you understand - not a whole World uses Latin scripting... You don't understand Arabic scripting, but most of Arabs does not understand Latin scripting.

Isn't Modern Internet also SEVERELY limited, as Latin scripting is used by less than 1/3 of the world.

Edited by coth, Jan 23 2010, 11:44am :

mrmckeb said,

Wrong. It's not racist.

This whole thing is crap. How am I meant to get to a site with an arabic domain - I can't type arabic! Ultimately, sites that use these domains are SEVERELY limiting their potential.


I believe that is the point. If you can't type arabic, you probably can't read arabic, hence you really don't need to be there.

coth... I don't know how to begin this response. You are using "racist" incorrectly. As a matter of fact, there is no "race" involved. If anything, it is ignorance.

Not being able to easily type Arabic does not mean an individual cannot read. What about travelers/tourists? Or that I can read Turkish, but I do not have a Turkish language keyboard or program -- a possible moneymaker for software developers.

Also, English is the international language of COMMERCE. Everybody on this planet who conducts business with foreign countries uses English (okay, okay... the extremely vast majority). And every computer keyboard is Latin-capable -- even the Japanese and Cantonese keyboards, even the Turkish and Arabic keyboards. They are ALL (designed to be) capable to type in UTF-8 Latin script.

Edited by Nas, Jan 23 2010, 6:58pm : Correcting English grammar -- not my first language.

Nas said,
coth... I don't know how to begin this response. You are using "racist" incorrectly. As a matter of fact, there is no "race" involved. If anything, it is ignorance.

Not being able to easily type Arabic does not mean an individual cannot read. What about travelers/tourists? Or that I can read Turkish, but I do not have a Turkish language keyboard or program -- a possible moneymaker for software developers.

Also, English is the international language of COMMERCE. Everybody on this planet who conducts business with foreign countries uses English (okay, okay... the extremely vast majority). And every computer keyboard is Latin-capable -- even the Japanese and Cantonese keyboards, even the Turkish and Arabic keyboards. They are ALL (designed to be) capable to type in UTF-8 Latin script.


Intolerance to people with different race and nationality is racism.

Not those who conduct business internationally, but with the western world. Foreign companies who comes to Russian market have to use Cyrillic scripting, so potential consumers could understand them.
Most foreign companies translates everything to Cyrillic including their brands.
Some for examples. BK is good example to show that there is no international market.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burger_King#International_variations
http://www.mcdonalds.ru/?ver=html
http://auchan.ru
http://www.ikea.com/ru/
etc etc etc

Obviously, with ашан.рф people will able to remember the official address and won't be typing ашан into searching engine all the time they need to check their nearest hypermarket.

And those majority comes to be minority out of all population. So the question was - what to do for the rest of population? What to do for half of the world who have no clue in a single latin letter? Having letters on the keyboard does mean automatically an ability to know how they sounds like.

SlimShady said,
And does this mean more IPv4 addresses will be used up for these domains? Maybe the IP Apocalypse is not far away.

How will this mean more IPv4 addresses? People who couldn't use their native language as a domain name before just used Latin characters, which they may now switch to their native ones. It doesn't mean more domains. Even if companies start using multiple domains for different languages, it isn't any different from having different localized ones as it is.

protocol7 said,
Phishing season is open.

ditto =/ guess ICANN will make more money and so will the "internet security" providers...

protocol7 said,
Phishing season is open.

If you type non-latin characters in a URL they will display as punycode when the page loads. mícrosoft.com becomes xn--mcrosoft-c2a.com.

I guess so, although MS may claim trademarks to that.
I guess they only did this because they're running out of domain names :P Although it will be great some some countries, but overall those countries will get shafted and end up at some spam site like at www.goggle.com!

_tux_ said,
so does this mean i can register mícrosoft.com?

.com is not Arabic or Cyrillic, it's Latin domain name.

ICANN has approved non Latin ccTLDs. First goes Cyrillic and Arabic ccTLD - .рфالسعودية. مصر. امارات.