ICANN is pleased to release an updated draft Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD fast track process [PDF, 265K]. The updated document contains clarifying information about the notion of IDN tables.
An IDN Table is a table listing all those characters that a particular TLD registry supports. If one or more of these characters are considered a variant this is indicated next to that/those characters. It is also indicated which character a particular character is a variant to. The IDN table usually holds characters representing a specific language but can also be characters from a specific script.

With the updated draft document, ICANN is seeking community input about the approach to development of the IDN tables. The comment period for the Draft Implementation Plan has been extended to 7 January 2009 to allow for additional community review of the updated draft document.

Comments on the Draft Implementation Plan are welcome via email to [email protected] . An archive of all comments received will be publicly posted at http://forum.icann.org/lists/ft-implementation/.

Related links:

Public comment period: http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/public-comment-200812.html#plan-idn-cctlds

Revised Fast Track Draft Implementation Plan: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/idn-cctld-implementation-plan-26nov08-en.pdf

Working Group Final Report (with public comments): http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/staff-considerations-idnc-wg-final-report-23oct08-en.pdf [PDF, 269K]

Fast Track webpage: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/

In early 2009, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) plans to adopt the update for international domain names (IDN) discussed since the beginning of this year. This became evident in the talks at the developers’ meeting in Minneapolis this week. One of the new entries on the list of characters allowed for domains that don’t use the ASCII character set will be the German “eszet” or “scharfes S” character (”ß”), which has been excluded from the IDN standards (RFC3490, RFC3492) until now. It won’t make an immediate difference for German internet users, though – domains containing an eszet will continue to replace it with ss. Marcos Sanz, who represents the German internet registrar DeNIC in the IETF’s IDN working groups, said in Minneapolis that DeNIC welcomes the additional possibility. He said, however, DeNIC has so far not decided how and when to make use of this new registration option. Sanz said it is important to consider that many users rely on the current mapping rules and state their contact addresses with the ß character accordingly.

Up until the last moment, there were discussions within the IETF about the extent to which registries should be allowed to determine their own special language characteristics and how to use them. The authors of the voluminous new standards series about internationalised domains to be adopted as IDNA 2008 advocated stricter rules within the actual standard documents.

On the other hand, Vinton Cerf said that “in terms of the numerous special requests we strongly depend on the registries”. The IETF’s board asked the Turing Award 2004-winning co-author of IP to lead the hot-headed working group. Cerf said that the registries know best about language specific problems. In Minneapolis, he strongly advised to hold a final consultation with representatives of the Arabic countries, whose alphabet-related problems make the Germany’s single “eszet” character seem rather unimportant. A separate standard document called BIDI, for example, allows domain names to be written from right to left. The current “consultation” relates to the various numbering systems within the Arabic language community.

Apart from the Western numbers 1,2,3, …, which came to Europe from India via the Arabic countries, Arabic languages also use classical Eastern Arabic numerals, also called Indic numerals. Things get complicated because the numbers four, five and six are written differently in the Eastern and Western Arabic countries. The problem was further complicated by Unicode, the organisation that takes inventory and files the code of languages. Instead of just giving different character codes to the three character variations, Unicode gave different character codes to the entire two sets of numbers. As a result, the Arabic number one matches two different Unicode character codes, depending on whether the Unicode character set for Western Arabic or Eastern Arabic is used.

If the two character sets are adopted and used in parallel, the overlap will at best cause confusion, at worst it will be exploited by phishers. Arabic language experts have now been asked to help decide whether to adopt only one of the character sets, whether to restrict domains to using one specific character set, or whether to only stipulate that the numbers can’t appear right next to each other. Some observers think that the deadline of two weeks is much too short, warning that the whole standardisation process is far too driven by Western experts. Indeed it sometimes seems rather peculiar that Americans and Europeans should argue about the finer aspects of Persian, Urdu or Dhivehi – the language spoken in the Maldives.

(Monika Ermert)


source: heise-online.co.uk

  • IDNs - An Overview (English)

Sun 02 Nov 2008

What it is | At this session ICANN Staff will give an introduction to internationalised domain names (IDNs). The session should cover basic concepts as well as technical rules to be followed if an IDN is considered for future New gTLD applications.

Internationalized Domain Names - A Basic Introduction (pdf)

أسماء النطاقات المدولة – لمحة عامة

وصف الموضوع: في هذه الجلسة سيقدم موظفي آيكان عرضا لأسماء النطاقات المدولة. ستشمل هذه الجلسة المفاهيم الأساسية وكذلك القواعد الفنية التي ينبغي اتباعها في حالة مراعاة أسماء النطاقات المدولة في طلبات أسماء نطاقات المستوى الأعلى العامة الجديدة في المستقبل

نوع الجلسة: محاضرة
الحضور: جميع المهتمين بالتعلم عن أسماء النطاقات المدولة وأسماء نطاقات المستوى الأعلى العامة الجديدة.

Internationalized Domain Names - A Basic Introduction (العربية) (ar)

  • IDN Program Status Report ( by Tina Dam, Director, IDN Program )

Thu 06 Nov 2008

IDN Program Status (pdf)

As you know, I have a small portfolio of premium domain names, specifically IDNs (get my free ebook here: IDN on Steroids).

Now, for personal reasons, I want to sell this portfolio rather than hold it for the long term.

So how do you sell premium domains, especially during the global economic crisis?


One way is forums. All domain forums such as DNForum and Namepros all have sales and auction sections. In my case, I am sticking to IDN specific forums such as IDN Channel, IDN Forums, DN Local and IDN Club.

You can offer a set price for sale but for a premium domain name, it is preferable to auction it off with a minimum reserve.

Auction Sites

Selling a domain is not a very efficient or liquid process. You can hardly call it “highly standardised”. Another way to sell a domain and try to reach a captive audience is to use an auction site such as Sedo or Snapnames. Currently, I am trying to sell via Snapnames because Sedo is not 100% IDN compatible.

For super high premium domains, there are also live auctions that get a lot of publicity and can see domains going for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Private Sale To End User

This is the most difficult and yet you can normally obtain the best prices too. It is much easier with standard (ascii) domains rather than IDN.

With IDN, my end users will be companies located in China and Japan. Unfortunately, I have no relevant language skills or local knowledge. This brings me on to…


For a premium domain, why not give up 20% or more of the value if someone can help to sell it for you. There are some brokers in the ascii market but none or few in the IDN market because it is so young. This is ironic because I foresee a day when there will be many IDN brokers, specifically because they will have the local contacts necessary to make a sale with end users.

Maybe you’ve sold a premium domain name yourself? Care to share some tips and pointers with me and the readers of this blog? I’d love to hear from you. :)

source: www.profitswithchris.com

Tina Dam: Compliance with IDN technical requirements

One of the main IDN related topics from the just-finished ICANN meeting in Cairo that I think deserves some additional attention was:

Why Compliance with IDN technical requirements are a necessity on a global scale

Overall compliance with technical standards are important for TLD registry operators in order to keep their TLD stable and secure and in that way function and work well for their consumers and communities. Per ICANN Bylaws, interoperability of the Internet is a core value, which requires that technical standards are complied with. In some instances failure to comply with technical standards will only affects the corresponding TLD in isolation and does not interfere with other TLDs - when moving to the topic of IDN TLDs however this fact changes very quickly.

The following will demonstrate how non-compliance with IDN technical standards in one country or territory has a negative effect on the entire Internet community and not solely on that country/territory.

What history has shown us is that when IDNs are implemented in a manner not consistent with the IDNA protocol and IDN Guidelines it has a very negative effect on the community in general. For example, initially, under some TLDs, IDNs were implemented in a way that allowed the individual users and registrants to pick among characters across scripts when making their . registration. This resulted in visual confusability and phishing attacks.

One specific example of this is paypal.com, where the “a”’s are Cyrillic characters and the rest are Latin letters. This address is visually the same as paypal.com (all in Latin letters), but physically, to the computer, these are two different addresses. This is damaging the uniqueness principle of the DNS - probably the most important principle of the DNS and what makes it work in a stable manner.

What further happened as a reaction to these kinds of implementations of IDNs is that application developers that need to implement the IDNA protocol in their application software in order for IDNs to work (for example in order for IDN based web addresses to resolve in a web-browser) did not follow the technical standards either. The reason behind this non-compliance has been an attempt to protect users from issues such as the above mentioned phishing attacks. For example, some browser developers have implemented white-listing of TLDs that have implemented IDNs, where the browser developer decides which TLDs are have implemented IDNs in a safe manner based on criteria set by the browser developer.

As a result the end user is presented a variety of different implementations that aim at introducing security levels that really only can be implemented and need to be implemented at the root and TLD registry level. As a consequence if two TLDs support the same language and script, they also can accept the same 2nd level domains, and vice versa, if one lookup a domain name in Unicode in one TLD then one should be able to use the same software to look up the same Unicode domain name in a different TLD - however this will not always be possible. In other instances application developers have introduced mechanisms that prevent domain names in certain scripts from resolving or otherwise functioning adequately.

If IDN implementations continue down a road of non-compliance with IDN technical requirements, such as those present in the IDNA protocol and the IDN Guidelines, it will not be possible to determine what the level of damage will be for the end-user. The worst scenarios could be one of the following two: either that IDNs will be filled with phishing attacks that IDNs will be of no use and users will be scared of using them, or restrictions in the application layer will be so strict that IDNs will for example not resolve in an adequate and at least not in a stable and secure manner. Either way, this does not provide the community what they have asked for and what we are attempting to provide them with the implementation of IDNs, namely, equal access to the DNS by all languages and scripts.

Other examples can be provided on request. These relate to reasons why the IDNA protocol is under revision and are further documented in RFC4690.

In summary the above demonstrates why compliance with the IDN technical standards are of outmost importance, and why we need to find a way of ensuring that such compliance is in place and kept in place for TLD operators with IDNs implemented, regardless of whether it is a second level or top level.

ICANN Concludes Successful 33rd Meeting in Cairo

CAIRO, EGYPT: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) concluded its 33rd International Public Meeting in Cairo today. During the meeting, key issues that will influence the future development of the Internet were discussed by more than 1,000 delegates from 144 countries, including the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).
The board also resolved that ICANN's 35th International Meeting will be held in Sydney Australia in June 2009 and following that, in Seoul, Korea in October 2009.
Commenting on the week's proceedings, ICANN's Chairman, Peter DengateThrush said:
"I'm very pleased with the progress made this week in preparing for the introduction of new Generic Top Level Domains. We have had very positive useful feedback from the Internet community. This feedback will be factored into the application guidebook, which will make it possible for applicants to build their businesses based on new names with confidence.
"This week also saw further progress towards the implementation of Internationalized Domain Names which will make the domain name system truly global. This will introduce extraordinary innovation in the way the world can express itself on the Internet."
Delegates at the Cairo meeting also heard addresses from the Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Doctor Hamadoun Touré and Acting Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Commerce, Meredith Attwell Baker. Both dignitaries spoke frankly to a full house about the future of the ICANN and the Internet, from the viewpoint of their organizations.
Dr Touré stressed the importance of collaboration between the ITU and ICANN and Acting Assistant Secretary Attwell Baker acknowledged ICANN's institutional progress in the 10 years since its creation and stressed that proactive contribution from the community is vital to the organization as the Internet continues to evolve.
ICANN's next International meeting will be held in Mexico City, Mexico from 1-6 March, 2009. For more information visit: http://mex.icann.org/

After several months of speculation, ICANN have awarded Russia the first non-latin domain extension; .РФ (.RF). This will be available from next July according to Kommersant, the Russian newspaper

The .РФ zone domains are expected to cover roughly 20 percent of current .RU, forecasted Dmitry Ufaev, the managing partner at RBC Hosting Center. Some 1.75 million domains have been registered in .RU, i.e. around 350,000 new web sites will probably appear during two years in .РФ zone.

Is this a good thing? Well there has been an unusually strong push for a “Russian” domain extension in Russia recently. Even Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation threw his weight behind the campaign.

As Yakov Sadchikov, over at Quinture points out, Yandex have also just replaced their old logo with an entirely Cyrillic version. Although Yakov suggests this reflects their increasing popularity across Russia, there does seem to be a degree of pro-Russian feelings sweeping Russia. Whether it’s the football, the war in Georgia or the rising affluence, it’s acceptable to be proud of your country and culture again.

Of course, having Cyrillic domains will also let more Russians access Runet. Similarly to the ever insightful Profy though, I worry about duplicate websites and branding confusion. Having three domains for Russia (.RU, .SU & .РФ), plus the usual gTLD options is certainly going to complicate campaigns for Russian marketers.


Russia Wins First Non-Latin Domain Extension .RF

IDN Sales Report Sept. 1, 2008 - Sept. 30, 2008

All sales are over 500 USD








ギャンブル.com xn--ock3dqb7a0b gambling japanese 150 000 private


direktflüge.de xn--direktflge-heb direct flights german 5 500 sedo


ростов.com xn--b1axaggg Rostov russian 4 444 idnforums


卫浴.cn xn--rlru91d bathroom vanities chinese 3 126 idnforums


股票.net xn--mjzw1m stocks chinese 2 500 idnforums


Tiefkühlkost.de xn--tiefkhlkost-xhb frozen food german 2 477 sedo


岡山市.com xn--rht3dz9b Okayama-shi japanese 2 400 idnforums


ростов-на-дону.com xn—–7kcgn5cdbagnnnx Rostov-on-don russian 2 150 idnforums


вологда.com xn--80adde7arb Vologda russian 2 000 idnforums


япония.com xn--h1ajcd3fe Japan russian 1 513 snapnames


aérospatiale.com xn--arospatiale-bbb aerospace french 1 386 sedo


bärlin.com xn--brlin-gra [german surname] german 1 260 sedo


市川市.com xn--5rt1cb Ichikawa city japanese 1 100 idnforums


豊橋市.com xn--7st76y7r0a Toyohashi city japanese 900 idnforums


柏市.com xn--7st01t Kashiwa city japanese 900 idnforums


佐賀市.com xn--qqq117awk9a Saga city japanese 900 idnforums

* in US Dollars

IDN Sales report based on data from idntools.com

ICANN’s 33rd International Meeting Arrives In Cairo

Cairo, Egypt: Further progress towards the implementation of new generic Top Level Domains and the global expansion of the domain name system is expected this week, as ICANN opens its 33rd International meeting in Cairo. Over 1,000 delegates from around the world have gathered for the meeting, which is being opened by Dr. Tarek Mohamed Kamel, Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
Since the ICANN's board voted at its Paris meeting in July to proceed with implementation of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) significant progress has taken place. In October, ICANN released a draft Guidebook that provides information for those interested in applying for a gTLD and at the Cairo meeting, community feedback on the draft.
The Cairo meeting will also see further progress towards the introduction of internationalised domain names (IDNs) which, when combined with new gTLDs, will create a range new possibilities for the internet users of the world.
Commenting on the Cairo meeting, Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN said:
"There are 1.5 billion Internet users in the world and growing and there are only 21 generic top level names from which people can choose. We're currently facilitating the biggest expansion to the domain name system since its inception and this meeting will see further consultation with the internet community so that all aspects of the draft gTLD policy are thoroughly discussed."
Yesterday, on the eve of the opening of the Cairo meeting, ICANN and Egypt's country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) manager formalize their relationship. Dr Paul Twomey, signed the Exchange of Letters with General Manager Hossam Fahim and Senior Consultant Nashwa Abdebaki from the Egyptian Universities Network (EGN). This brings to 45the number of countries that have entered into a formal relationship with ICANN.
The complete schedule for ICANN's 33rd meeting, as well as links to webcast sessions and our public participation website, can be found at: http://cai.icann.org/cai/schedule.

Following the recommendation from the IDNC WG Final report, ICANN sent letters to all countries and territories requesting information about their interest in participating in the Fast Track process. A sample letter is available at http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-02oct08-en.htm

The request for information included a brief questionnaire intended to ascertain interest in the Fast Track Process.

While ICANN is still receiving responses, the following data is being made available to help the continued discussions in the community, and to inform the draft Implementation Plan for IDN ccTLDs, and make it available for use for the countries and territories.

Total number of letters to national governments: 252

Total number of letters to ccTLD operators: 252

Total number of received responses: 58

Number of received responses stating an interested in obtaining an IDN ccTLD during the fast-track process: 32

A total of 30 respondents specified one or more IDN ccTLD labels and 10 respondents at this stage did not yet specify the IDN ccTLD label(s). Some of the respondents that specified the IDN ccTLD label(s) also specified that they had no interest in participating in the Fast Track process. A reason for not participating may be that these respondents are not eligible to participate in the fast track process because the IDN ccTLD they are interested in is based on characters from the Latin script.

A total of 14 languages are anticipated to be represented initially through the IDN ccTLD fast Track process.

The responses estimate the earliest availability for launching an IDN ccTLD within 3 months and the latest being available per the end of 2010.

ICANN will provide updates to the statistics listed above as additional responses are being received. The data above is based on responses received per 1 November 2008.

For more details about the IDN ccTLD fast Track Process, please see: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/