Top level IDNs may create problems for existing second level IDN domains.
ICANN is moving full steam ahead with top level country code internationalized domain names. This means that countries that use scripts other than Latin will have the opportunity to get a country code domain name using non-latin characters.
To understand how powerful this is, consider if you had to type in the second level of a domain using one character set and the top level — such as .com — using a different one. Although work-arounds have been created, having only Latin top level domains has been downright insulting to much of the world.
People have been able to register second level internationalized domain names for a while. But these still had to end with something like .com.
So here’s the big question: When IDN ccTLDs come out, what will that mean for all of the domains registered in IDNs for existing top level domain names? It’s possible that a country will map IDN.cc to IDN.IDN, but there’s no guarantee for this that I’ve uncovered in the IDN ccTLD process at ICANN. And that does little for owners of IDN.com domains. Will internet users in these countries suddenly flock to something in their own script instead of .cn?
I’m curious for everyone’s thoughts, especially those who have invested in IDNs already.
Domain Report says
Yes I think it could be a big mess! Do you use IDN.com or IDN.cn for example, or IDN.idn, where the .com or .cn is translated into the specific country’s language? Right there you have four options for an idn domain name, not to mention if .net, .org and .info get translated into IDN too.
If IDN.idn becomes a new option, it will create another IDN landrush for top names. And where will that leave the IDN.com holders for China, Japan, Korea, Russia etc.
Ofcourse, people who have IDN.com for countries where .com makes sense, like France or Spain, should be ok and won’t have to make this choice.
For some languages, it works fine now. IDN.de works. So will IDN.com in Spanish and Portuguese. Those names may become more valued. The others maybe not.
Reserved registrations says
The existing registrant to the domain пример.com (idn.com) is also going to own the idn.idn version (пример.ком)
3. Reserved registrations – the characters that are variants will result in a reservation of the variant domain name(s). A reservation most commonly means that
only the registrant can release the reservation and register the domain name in question.
Source: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/proposed-implementation-details-idn-tables-revision-1-clean-29may09-en.pdf (Page 6)
I believe when you register idn.cn you as well get the idn.idn . I noticed this when I registered mine. IMHO idn.idn will be the winner. Why would someone want to type idn.english . Most would prefer I believe to type in their native language. The Chinese government promoted .cn during the Olympics not .com.
Steve M says
… call it the UDRP/WIPO Full-Employment Act.
You’re right, there is no written guarantee from ICANN on any of this; nor will you see any, and there’s a good reason why this is, and that’s because it’s not their problem or concern.
The only stipulation ICANN have set is that surfers must not get confused, hence where the much used ICANN phrase “not confusingly similar” has come from.
For example, there is no way on earth a new cctld .teevee would be allowed, because it sounds like an existing extension (.tv)
I am an IDN investor, and like a lot of IDN investors the logic behind the justification goes something like this:
everyone knows that, just as you mentioned it is insulting and unnatural to have to toggle your input language to type the dot com, so what makes sense is an extension in your own language – this is after all, the basis of the need for IDN.
We will see I am sure, a bunch of new idn gTLDs, and all of them will face the same uphill struggle to gain mindset; this is the same argument as the proposed new English gTLDs, they too will face a tough time, and the consensus is many will most likely fall.
To answer your question about dot com.. dot com is a brand. A huge brand. A brand that is recognised and used the world over.
Most importantly though, “com” isn’t a dictionary word, so there is no natural translation for it in any dictionary anywhere in any language. This is important because it means that no entity can apply for a gTLD version of “com” in another language, and claim that it is a common dictionary word.
The only way to write “com” in another language would be to transliterate it, by this I mean to phonetically spell it out. An example of this is “ком” (these are Russian Cyrillic characters that pronounce “com”) or “コム” (these are Japanese symbols that pronounce “com”)
The next part of the business case comes down to the $… If you were Verisign, and you had the ability to generate a truck load of new registrations in new extensions leveraging the brand power of dot com… would you? Damn right you would – and as per my comment above, Verisign has a water-tight case for being the only entity allowed to use “com” transliterations.
The final part of the business case comes back to my first point about confusingly similar. It simply would not be allowed to have 2 gTLDs that sound the same (“com” and “コム”) to resolve domains to different places.
What will it look like in the end? To avoid the confusion issue, Verisign will have to alias “com” and “ком” and “コム” etc, and there has been much talk about and experimenting with DNAME functionality, Verisign wrote a white paper about all this back in 2005, and recently ICANN publicly stated that this matter is for the registries to deal with – so this explains why you won’t see this particular topic in anything from ICANN.
However it plays it out, you can be sure that Verisign will find a way to charge existing registrants extra registration fees for these aliased versions – but to me that’s no big deal.
[there is a different case to be made for the cctlds, but I’ll spare you the half dozen extra paragraphs for another day]
Yes idn.idn will be the winner as well as .com and .nets and .org IDN holders. There won’t be any losers for a long time. Remember that .com .net and .org will probably also be used in native scripts and the .com holder will have the rights to the new script as was mentioned by Reserved Registrations, ie .ком
.ком will signify a global brand or domain, while .рф, for Russian Federation will be a more local Russian business domain. Of course how extensions are used will vary greatly between countries. Each country usually favors their own cctld plus one or two gtlds, ie. the people I know in Paris like .fr then .org and .tv, while those in St. Remy prefer .fr then .com, so it is not just a national identity, but different parts of a country may prefer one or another extension. IMO IDN.com holders will be sitting pretty for the next 10 years.
it took me a while to figure out that IDN means International domain names with every one try to abbreviate now a days, it is a task.
As far as i know legally the .com should not have any preference over .ком in Russian for instance. Verisign got permission but does NOT own the .com
In any event when is the expectant roll out for the different .coms in the non Latin languages??
when will there be a .omc /net in russian or in Arabic language?
IDN Forum says
idn owners have the rights automatically to the other domains. idn sales continue to grow, but the real question is if giants like china and russia will breakaway and form their ‘own internet’ like they are threatening
Zak Muscovitch says
This interesting issue raises a larger question as well: “Will domain names always continue to be a scarce resource?”. The value of domain names has been driven by the fact that each domain name is unique. Once the most desireable .com is taken, potential registrants must move on to the less desireous .net’s, etc., and on to CC TLD’s, and IDN’s. Now with the advent of corporate and expensive “vanity” TLD’s, such as .APPLE, etc., and with the advent of IDN’s, and IDN TLD’s, will we one day be in an Internet world where anyone who wants a particular TLD will generally be able to have a somewhat desireable one, one way or another. To take that further, will domain names one day altogether cease being a “scarce resource” and become a commodity, with the value of domain names gradually depleting since they are available for the taking, in the same manner as web sites are there for the taking. Or will premium descriptive and generic .com’s remain extraordinarily valuable because the brand has become so entrenched? Will Google treat all descriptive TLD’s no matter what language or their recent origin, with the same value, thereby moving the value away from the domain name itself, to the content associated with the domain name, making search engines the ever more predominant way of locating a site? All interesting questions to me. Of course for the foreseaable future, .com remains King, although I believe we are at the outset of a very gradual shift in the treatment and associated value of domain names.
Claude Gelinas says
The ccTLD system helped more people connect with one another but the IDNed system will likely divide large segments of the web into niched segments.
I fail to see how this is a step forward.
Local languages will triumph locally but for their external visibility (or “pull”) will drop to zero.
Andrew Allemann says
I’ve clarified the matter with ICANN. Just because you own idn.cctld does not necessarily mean you’ll get idn.ccidn. Some country code managers will make them the same, but they are under no obligation. In fact, in some countries the manager of the latin ccTLD may not be the same as the manager for the IDN ccTLD.
Yes you’re right, it’s not for ICANN to dictate what the country code managers do.
Personally my only interest in ccTLD is in IDN .jp, and the current registry of Japan has already publicly stated that the owner of idn.jp and idn.日本 should be the same: http://jprs.co.jp/advisory/material/26/2.pdf
And from a common sense perspective, dot 日本 (Japan) and dot jp (Japan) would be a real confusing mess seeing as they both read “Japan” and they resolved to different locations and were owned by different people.
The IDN community have been researching this stuff and regging for years, and yes of course it’s not done until it’s done – but at $6 a pop for a top tier term, how can you go wrong?
Confusingly similar says
If 2 different registrants own a variation of the same name (i.e one owns пример.com and the other owns пример.ком gTLD domain or i.e one owns 人の仲.jp and another has the 人の仲.日本 ccTLD variant, ), That is going to cause user confusion where ICANN in multiple documents clearly stated it will not allow any type of confusion (visual,aural etc) for obvious reasons which is why regardless of the specific TLD manager to a variant, they all will have to be in control of the same registrant which possibly will have to pay each (same or separated) registry for each of the variants to the domain but that is where the separation ends.
Although a formal commitment has not yet been made by Verisign to support this approach, this may now be the time to begin evaluating the registration of brands in .com and .net using native character sets to support important markets. In particular, companies should consider registering translations, transliterations, and transcriptions of their famous marks now to support current and planned global marketing efforts. By doing so, owners of these domains could potentially have exclusive rights to register in matching .com and .net IDN TLDs, when they become available.
Andrew Allemann says
@ Confusingly similar – now that I see your other post, I understand what you’re saying. We’re talking about IDN ccTLDs here, which is completely different from IDN gTLDs.
Confusingly similar says
Page 55 – Applicant guidebook V3: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/draft-rfp-redline-04oct09-en.pdf
An application that fails the string similarity review and is
found too similar to an existing TLD will not pass the Initial
Evaluation, and no further reviews will be available.
An application found at risk for string confusion with
another applied-for gTLD string will be placed in a
An application that passes the string similarity review is still
subject to challenge by an existing TLD operator or by
another gTLD applicant in the current application round.
That process requires that a string confusion objection be
filed by an objector having the standing to make such an
objection. Such category of objection is not limited to
visual similarity. Rather, confusion based on any type of
similarity (including visual, aural, or similarity of meaning)
may be claimed by an objector. Refer to Module 3,
Dispute Resolution Procedures, for more information about
the objection process.
An applicant may file a formal objection against another
gTLD application on string confusion grounds (see Module
3). Such an objection may, if successful, change the
configuration of the preliminary contention sets in that the
two applied-for gTLD strings will be considered in direct
contention with one another (see Module 4, String
Contention Procedures). The objection process when
initiated by an applicant cannot result in removal of an
application from a contention set.
Andrew Allemann says
@ Confusingly similar – I don’t know what you’re getting at here. I assume you’re talking about IDN gTLDs, not ccTLDs?
when is the gTLD IDN’s scheduled for??
I thought that they are only comin out wiht the ccTLD IDN’S?
Andrew Allemann says
@ Rob – IDN ccTLDs can be part of a “fast track” process, which should be generally approved at the next ICANN meeting later this month. gTLD IDNs aren’t scheduled to come out until the general release of new gTLDs such as .eco, and who knows when that will happen.