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19 Nov 2009

A thought about not-quite-ASCII Top Level Domains ICANN

ICANN has opened their new fast track process for "countries and territories that use languages based on scripts other than Latin" to get domain names that identify the country or territory in its own language. It's not clear to me what the policy is supposed to be for countries whose languages use extended Latin with accents and other marks that aren't in the ASCII set.

Any country that uses an extended Latin character set can use extended characters in 2LDs right now, and I can't offhand think of any whose current unaccented two-letter ccTLD isn't an adequate mnemonic for their name. But let's say that Serbia feels that .RS is kind of lame, so they apply for and get .Србија which is perfectly reasonable, since that's the Cyrillic character set.

Then Romania decides that .RO is too generic, so they ask for .România with the circumflex over the â, as it is properly spelled in Romanian. That's an IDN, so how can they say no?

Hey, say the Hungarians, they got their country names, we want .Magyar. Oh, no, that's ASCII, that will be $185,000 and a highly uncertain multi-year process. Really?

posted at: 01:17 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments
posted at: 01:17 :: permanent link to this entry :: 2 comments

comments...        (Jump to the end to add your own comment)

And what about countries with multiple regional yet "official" languages? May we have an new TLD for .it in Friulano??? (wow!)

(by Emanuele 19 Nov 2009 06:41)

Welcome to the Balkanization of the internet.
This is a deliberate roadblock to the free flow of information and ideas.

Sure, they can set up a 2LD and TLD system that has to access some odd Unicode page to even type in, but to allow access by all it has to be displayable and readable by all - Cyrillic is bad enough, but are we going to have to learn Katakana or Kanji just to connect?

Unless these countries go to great pains to duplicate their TLD domains with ASCII aliases (not hard, just extra work) they are deliberately isolating themselves from the world.

And if you reverse it, it could be the next iteration of the "Great Firewall of China" - they could isolate the system to only access their TLD and block the rest of the world even easier.

(by BruceBergman 19 Nov 2009 20:45)

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