ICANN says "yes" to IDN ccTLDs... KR FTP FTW!

Breaking news from Korea, folks: as expected, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has finally approved the Internationalized Domain Names proposal for country-code top-level domain names. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers W00T for the IDN fast track process.

By Richi Jennings. October 30, 2009.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention another halloween costume...

    Jonathan Thatcher has the news:

The body in charge of assigning the world's Internet users their online addresses on Friday ... agreed to allow the use of any of the world's scripts, no longer just the Latin alphabet. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which approved the change at a meeting in Seoul, said ... it could lead to a dramatic rise in the number of Internet users. ... ICANN's President and CEO Rod Beckstrom [said] ... "We have just made the Internet much more accessible to millions of people in regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Russia."


The programme will be rolled out in stages, starting Nov. 16. ... The ICANN proposal ... will allow internationalised domain names (IDNs) using scripts such as Chinese, Korean or Arabic for the country code designators at the end of an address name. Eventually, the use of IDNs will be expanded to all types of Internet address names.

Doug Herman contextualizes:

This move will further push the Internet away from its roots as an American creation in the 1960s, originally developed at U.S. Universities for use by the military and subsequently introduced to the public in the 1990s. Since the Internet became a mainstream phenomenon in the 1990s, transforming communications, news, entertainment and business, it has spread from a US-dominated medium to a global one.


The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), [plans] to introduce in-language domain names for China,  replacing the current .cn with “.??”, the actual word for China in Han characters. ... Asian countries already account for over 700 million users or 42.2% of the total Internet population compared to the United States [with] 227 million users or 13.6%. ... The US Internet [has] 75% penetration meaning that there is limited growth opportunities remaining; ... Asian [has] 18.5%, meaning that over time, English-speaking American Internet users will become a smaller minority. Bottom line is that of the 1.6 billion Internet users worldwide over half use languages based on non-Latin alphabets.

Ed Oswald says it was a difficult journey:

It’s been a pet peeve for countries that use non-Roman written text in their languages. ... It does not come without its pitfalls however. Standard DNS can only handle Roman characters. Thus it has taken much of the past three years that IDNs have existed to rewrite DNS to prevent these domains from breaking the Internet.


China, Russia, and Japan appear to be the first to apply for this new DNS method. It is expected by the next meeting in March that they would have had testing complete and be able to advise other interested countries on how they should proceed.

But Evan Ramstad seeks out conflict:

Some people aren’t happy about it. ... Sparks flew over the timing for the internationalization of those domains, which account for about 60% of the world’s Web addresses.

  “We look forward to the day when our customers don’t need to switch to English to reach our Web site,” said Lee Dong-bum, chief executive of a small Korean consulting firm, who heard about the conference and wanted to make sure the techies in charge of the Internet keep businesspeople like him in mind. “Don’t forget dot-com,” he said.

Neil Rafferty and co. make light:

?? is the Chinese for pornography, the internet regulator confirmed last night. ... Top of the list was ????? ('**** on ****') while experts warned internet users not to confuse ???? ('*** ***') with ???? ('**** ***') unless they secretly want to.


Aside from oriental sex images other key phrases include ???? ('blue pills') ???????? ('world trade centre conspiracy') ... ????? ('large hadron collider'), ???? ('cupcakes') and ????? ('a cat playing the piano').

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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