.Org Eyes Leadership Role in IDN Top Level Domain Names
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
.Org registry PIR wants to bring best practices to IDN top level domain names.
One of the big questions facing registries of existing top level domain names is how they should pursue Internationalized Domain Name “equivalents” of their domain names when they become available. These so-called IDN.IDN domain names will be available once new gTLDs — such as .nyc and .music — come out.
Last month we learned more about VeriSign’s plans for .com and .net; today I reached out to Lance Wolak, Director of Marketing & Product Management for Public Interest Registry (PIR), which manages .org.
PIR hopes to take a leading role in IDN top level domain names, as it has in other initiatives such as DNSSEC.
“We’re not primarily commercially driven in what we do,” explained Wolak. “We’re really driven to do what helps and protects the domain name registrant.”
When it comes to IDN top level domain names, PIR wants to show support for various communities.
“We’re doing this in the public interest and to show our support and respect for the different language communities,” said Wolak. “Idn.idn is a technology that we want to see move forward.”
IDN.org domain names, with the standard .org at the end, have been available in many languages since the middle of the last decade. Wolak said that many of these have been registered for search engine optimization purposes (i.e., exact match to what the searcher types in his or her language/script).
Wolak said it would be premature for PIR to give definite plans for .org-as-IDN domains, given that new TLD guidelines aren’t finalized yet.
“Right now we are watching the information that’s coming out of ICANN, and looking over the Draft Applicant Guidebook,” said Wolak. “Until that is finalized, we won’t have a hundred percent picture of the requirements to launch a new gTLD, which would include IDN TLDs. So we don’t have anything to announce on how many scripts we’ll go after, which ones, etc.”
Wolak noted that, in addition to Chinese script, Cyrillic and Arabic, PIR is looking at other popular scripts that have large populations behind them. Script tables are currently being developed for some scripts sets, including Arabic. PIR has been working with the community as it develops the tables. In addition to settling the tables, there are other issues for IDN TLDs that need to be worked out, such as current getting them to work with email systems.
There are still a number of open issues for IDN TLDs. But regardless of how they develop, PIR wants to be a thought leader.
“We want to take the approach that we can bring the best practices with what we’re doing in the .org space to a new IDN TLD,” said Wolak.