by Aaron Krawitz, Gary Males & Patrick Carleton
[This article explores the latest with IDN ccTLDs such as .Ñ€Ñ„ and .æ—¥æœ¬. Aaron Krawitz of IDNBlog and Gary Males of IDNDemystified co-own IDNDroplist, IDNTools and IDNNewsletter. Patrick Carleton is Executive Director of Associated Cities. -Andrew]
Change is afoot in the world of IDN ccTLDs.
Just a few days ago, we learned that the registry, JPRS, was the only one to apply to manage the .æ—¥æœ¬ IDN ccTLD (meaning “.Japanâ€ in Japanese). JPRS is the current .JP registry and has previously spoke out in favor of aliasing or unlocking .JP in an IDN equivalent. As such, the practical implication of the above application is that we will likely soon see owners of IDN.JP domains owning IDN.æ—¥æœ¬ names as well.
Hiro Hotta the Director of Corporate Planning at JPRS previously stated: “In my opinion, the registrant of IDN.jp should automatically have the right to register IDN.æ—¥æœ¬ . . . [i]t is relatively easy for [the] .JP registry (JPRS) to implement this aliasing.â€
Meanwhile, the release of .Ñ€Ñ„ IDN ccTLD (meaning “.RFâ€ in Russian) is on track. The sunrise period is currently open to trademark holders, with a number of .Ñ€Ñ„ sites already having gone live, and landrush is to follow this fall.
There are several material implications of the IDN ccTLD progress, the first of which is greater awareness of IDNs in general. As IDNs are in the news on a daily basis, investors, developers and end-users are realizing that IDN.com domains exist now, IDN.IDN-ccTLD names will exist soon and these foreign language domains are great platforms to use in order to engage users in their native languages.
Though the publicity of IDN ccTLDs are having a positive effect on the awareness and value of IDN.com names, such new ccTLDs also pose a competitive threat. In the world of IDNs, to many it seems like buying an IDN.com is the intuitive choice as .COM is already a global brand. However, in many markets, new IDN ccTLDs will be available long before an internationalized IDN.com-in-IDN domain will be available, and such IDN ccTLDs will at times have the advantage of being the first IDN.IDN in a certain region.
Consequently, it is anyone’s guess as to whether the new IDN ccTLDs, ASCII .COM, or the future IDN .COM alias becomes the extension of choice for IDNs in a given country and the prudent investor should buy both.
Lastly, amidst the blockbuster releases of IDN ccTLDs for Japan and Russia, smaller countries tend to get overlooked even though they too are releasing IDN ccTLDs. IDN opportunities will surely abound in these smaller markets as well.