VeriSign’s Plans for “.Com IDNs” Become Clearer

Registrants of existing .com domain names are well positioned for coming release of IDN TLDs.

For years, domainers have been investing in Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) that use non-Latin characters. But these have all been IDN at the second level only, as there currently aren’t any top level domain names in non-Latin characters. So an internet user has to type the second level domain using one character set and then append “.com” to the end.

But that’s about to change, beginning with a select number of IDN country code domain names. Then, if everything goes as planned, entities will be able to apply for generic top level domain names in different scripts as part of the new gTLD process.

So what does this mean for people who bought idn.com domain names? They were banking on .com registry VeriSign getting the rights to “.com equivalents” in other scripts and languages and offering those to the existing registrants of IDN.com. As of right now, that looks like a good bet.

“Nothing is in concrete yet,” said Chuck Gomes, Vice President of Policy and Compliance for VeriSign Information Services. “But I think it’s a pretty well agreed-to plan.”

Essentially, if you have a second level .com domain name, then you’ll get the right to “activate” that second level domain in any of the .com-equivalent IDNs that VeriSign gets. The same goes for .net.

“We want the .com name to be a unique experience for .com regardless of what script you do it in,” said Gomes.

Gomes said it’s too early to tell how many IDN equivalents of .com and .net VeriSign might apply for. “We can’t predict what ICANN will do in terms of the application process,” Gomes explained. “I can say that the business unit is considering applying for ‘several’ IDN versions of .com in some of the scripts that are available.”

Owners of a .com that want to activate a .com-equivalent-IDN may need to pay a fee to do so. “The way I understand it right now, if you want to activate andrew.chinese-version-of-.com, there will be a fee, although that hasn’t been determined,” said Gomes.

However, domain registrants won’t be required to activate IDN TLDs just to keep them out of the hands of other people. The .com equivalent IDNs will always be reserved for whomever has the second level domain. This also means that, once IDN TLDs are released, if someone registers keyword.com-equivalent-IDN, no one else can register keyword.com.

The management of these activated IDN domain names will take place at the registrar. It likely won’t be possible to transfer ownership of one .com-equivalent IDN to another person while a registrant still has another .com-equivalent-IDN or .com of the same second level domain.

VeriSign’s current plan is that an activated IDN will work much like any other domain name, giving registrants full control such as nameservers. “If you want to create a web site around that [Chinese IDN TLD] you can, or you can point the Chinese version to your existing web site,” explained Gomes.

The idea of IDN equivalents of existing top level domain names could create some interesting situations, however. Although they have the presumptive right of renewal, registries such as VeriSign and Public Interest Registry merely have a contract to manage domain names such as .com and .org. If these registries get the IDN equivalents of these top level domain names and then lose the main contract, that would result in two different registries controlling what are essentially equivalent TLDs.

“How would that all happen, I don’t know that I know the answer to that, or if that would ever happen,” Gomes said, referring to the potential conflict. “It creates some complications that I don’t think anybody would want.”

Comments

    • says

      @ David – Hotels.com will get the rights to Hotels.any-com-equivalent-tld that VeriSign picks up. They will not get the equivalent of ‘hotels’, as there is rarely a direct translation.

  1. jeff says

    Nope David,

    Sorry but if you have a nice fat checkbook you can buy some of our IDNs when they become ripe.. ;-)

    Thank you for your patience.. As IDN domainers told you guys back in the day… You snooze, you lose.

  2. says

    @ Andrew – Thanks for the reply.

    As for your response to David, I believe it’s a bit misguided.
    We’re talking about top level variants here; nothing to do with second level domains.

    The second level domains for ‘Hotels’ have already been registered in all major scripts in IDN. They’re the ones who need the .com/net variant in their respective script anyway.

    • says

      yanni – I must not have been clear in my response. If you own the second level domain hotels.com, then you get rights to:

      hotels.chinese-com-equivalent
      hotels.russian-com-equivalent

      (assuming VeriSign gets these TLDs)

    • says

      Yanni -I think I understand what you’re getting at. There’s probably no reason to get:

      (hotels in english).(com in chinese)

      That said, if you do own hotels.com, VeriSign will reserve all variants of the top level for you:

      (hotels in english).(com in chinese)
      (hotels in english).(com in russian)
      etc…

      And if you own (hotels in chinese).com, you probably wouldn’t want (hotels in chinese.com)(.com in russian), but you will still have it reserved for you.

      So regardless of what the second level is and what character set/language it’s in, the top level of .com and all .com variants will be reserved for you.

  3. says

    I understand a bit better now which leads me to ask…

    What is the real value here, in value I mean will the visitors be there to make value? Anything besides wishes and fishes to support a mass flock to idn names?

  4. Drew says

    How is it a TM nightmare David?

    Trademarks owners don’t automatically get global rights to every translation/transliteration of their TM. What planet are you from?

    I know you seem to thing that because you own bullion.com that somehow that should give you rights to 金条.公司 and слиток.ком but that’s not the way the world works.

    金条.com gets 金条.公司

    слиток.com gets слиток.ком

    You get bullion.公司 and bullion.ком

    Sad, aren’t they?

  5. mrfudo says

    What about the restrictions imposed by some countries on who can register?

    For example, to get idn.jp you must have a address and phone in Japan, so very likely that will also apply when idn.日本 is ready.

    On the other hand, China requires business certificate and company seal in China before you can register for idn.cn and very likely idn.中国. (They also use the black list and white list to control which sites can be accessible in China.) How can a non-resident get one?

  6. jeff says

    jp-domains.com does a local japan presence for free. They let you use their address to get aname. I have used them for 4 years.

  7. Drew says

    This isn’t about ccTLD’s. This is about gTLD’s.

    China can’t require you to have a business cert for a .com or .net domain.

    Likewise geographic nexus.

  8. MS says

    @Josh
    “I understand a bit better now which leads me to ask…

    What is the real value here, in value I mean will the visitors be there to make value? Anything besides wishes and fishes to support a mass flock to idn names?”

    _______

    Mass flock? The internet will now be truly accesible to a Billion+ population world wide…Does that support a mass flock iyo?
    As for visitors that will be there,unique type-ins to IDN’s have been there, are there and will be there, the numbers just grow monthly and will explode when the above is going live.

  9. says

    @MS

    “Mass flock? The internet will now be truly accesible to a Billion….

    As for visitors that will be there,unique type-ins to IDN’s have been there, are there and will be there, the numbers just grow monthly and will explode when the above is going live.

    Ok so you are stating a billion people I assume in China and ???? Currently refuse to use the internet because of a language barrier?

    Also do you have evidence of idn’s with good traffic that continue to grow?

    Which begs the question, will the guys who should ” get it ” care enough to buy these idn’s to reach a group they most likely do NOT sale to when they are mainly still blinded by the power of the .com?

    Seems to me any ways that even if it gets traffic it will only be good to those of us who wish to monitize it ourself, I cannot see large corporations buying idns to reach segments they dont care about. Not saying non will but when they still dont ” get it ” after 20 yrs with the .com a idn seems a stretch. jmo

  10. MS says

    @Josh, It’s not a 123 post and you get or don’t get it. If you really want to understand what is going on, IDNForums.com is a good place to start.

  11. says

    So basically you suckers with IDN’s are going to be paying double fees.

    The only one winning here is Verisign. Brilliant move on their part to basically force IDN holders to have to pay twice.

    Like taking candy from a baby.

  12. Drew says

    >Ok so you are stating a billion people I assume in China
    >and ???? Currently refuse to use the internet because of a
    >language barrier?

    Well, no, but why do you think numeric domains are so popular in China?

    If the DNS only worked in Chinese, English surfers would learn to type in one site in Chinese (probably a search engine) and then use THAT for all navigation.

    Soon, Chinese people will be able to get to anywhere they desire by typing 100% chinese characters into the URL bar, just like you’ve been able to do in your language since day one.

    This is the Internet becoming truly global, at last.

  13. says

    Can Chinese users not type in english dot com’s at the present time?

    Has anyone ever walked the streets off China, taken a poll and asked who hererefuses to surf the highly restrictive communist controlled interweb because you cant type sex.com?

  14. jeff says

    uh Josh, the official language in China is Chinese… Would you want to visit a site in chinese if you were walking the streets in the U.K. ?

  15. Will says

    @C’mon Domains:
    “So basically you suckers with IDN’s are going to be paying double fees.

    The only one winning here is Verisign. Brilliant move on their part to basically force IDN holders to have to pay twice.

    Like taking candy from a baby.”
    _________________________

    I hand registered lots of one-word generic IDNs in .com 4-5 years ago. Currently, the worst of my domains could be easily sold at 10x my investment in said domain, some of the best could easily be sold in the 4-5 figure range, a 100x-1,000x return on the investment of one domain.

    And you think that’s an investment that only a sucker would make? C’mon…who’s the sucker here?

    If/when Verisign is able to go through with their plans, yes they will see great profits.

    At the least it will mean a slight increase in the value of my one-word generic IDNs. If all goes well and the .com equivalent is adopted in the countries whose language I have this small investment in just as .com has been adopted as the go-to TLD in the US and many other countries, then us “suckers” will be sitting pretty.

  16. Adam says

    @david

    Not to quick on the uptake are you?

    You think you own a TM in every single language because you own an ascii.com?

    WOW! Just, wow.

  17. MS says

    @David
    Yes, They can do this same concept (link below) which allows that type of global recognition with they’re 5 ring TM logo.

    http://leadsyou.com/tv.pdf

    They were vigorously defending they’re TM’s prior to non Latin domains, i am sure they will continue doing the same with IDN’s (Coca Cola is the biggest one i can recall to date: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2008/d2008-1851.html) As for campaigns using IDN’s , we have seen them from Nissan,Fruit of the loom,Gillette and others.

  18. says

    @Drew & Adam
    Whos said anything about Bullion.com or any other generic we own? In fact, I’m happy for anyone who invested in IDNs and I hope they make a killing. However, the one thing I’ve learned since the mid 1990s is to never underestimate the “creativity” of corporate attorneys.

  19. Drew says

    I think you’ll find the Olympic committee have got TM’s in every language on the planet, Swahili and Walloon included.

    I do agre, however, that corporate attorneys can be very creative.

    Fortunately, when their creativity goes supra-legal, sometime you get to kick their butts.

  20. says

    @Drew
    Exactly. I have the feeling some people on here think that I’m opposed to IDNs. On the contrary I salute anyone who had the vision to invest in these names and, as I posted earlier, hope that eveyone who did makes a bundle. It only seems like yesterday that some people were putting Michael and me down for “wasting our money” when we bought PalmSprings.com, Rate.com, Cost.com, LagunaBeach.com Traveler.com, etc in the mid-1990s. My only advice is to be fully prepared for the Barbarians At The Gate. I’ve seen enough bad UDRP decisions to choke a billy goat and these names will soon be game because many corporate legal departments (as usual) did not realize their potential and will now try to think of legal arguments to go after them.

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