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Verisign reconfirms IDN transliteration plans, provides more details

Verisign provides some details on how it will allocate top level domain transliterations.

Have you ever invested a lot of money in something without a written contract? It can be a bit nerve racking, and occasionally you can feel like you got burned.

That’s why internationalized domain name (IDN) investors are feeling a better after Verisign provided more details about its plans for transliterations of .net and .com domain names.

At a high level, there’s nothing new to Verisign’s announcement (pdf). It’s the same thing Verisign told Domain Name Wire a couple years ago: If someone owns an IDN.com, they’ll be the only one with rights to register the same IDN.IDN-as-transliteration, and vice versa.

Verisign’s letter includes additional details that will make IDN investors even more comfortable. For example, there’s no requirement that you immediately unlock equivalent transliterations. They’ll be there for you if and when you decide you want them.

The letter also addresses my concern about how these transliterations will be tied to .com. In 2011 I wrote:

I’m not sure what would happen if VeriSign ever lost the .com contract, as it would still technically have the contracts for the IDN equivalents of .com. I doubt anyone has considered that in the new gTLD process. The same goes for other registries to apply for “IDN equivalents”

The letter states that Verisign’s approach to these transliterations means that “should there ever be a need to redelegate one or more of the IDN TLDs, under this approach Verisign would be able to reassign any of the IDN TLDs without impacting the remaining IDN TLDs from a technical perspective.”

IDN.com and IDN.IDN-as-transliteration registrations will have some restrictions. All unlocked transliterations must have the same registrant, registrar, and nameservers. It sounds like you can’t “split” the .com and transliteration into two separate websites.

This makes sense. As some critics have pointed out, someone listening to a radio commercial for cyrillicIDN.com won’t know if it’s .com or .ком. They need to know that either one they type in will go to the same place.

One big question remains for IDN investors: how much will this cost?

Verisign says it’s still evaluating how much it will charge for the additional registration.

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Reader Interactions


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  1. Steve

    Great news for idn.com. Now .com is king in all major languages.
    There should be no charge to activate the idn.idn version as they both resolve to the same site or a very nominal $2/domain/year fee at most.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Steve

      “There should be no charge to activate the idn.idn version”

      Yeah, don’t count on that!

      Remember that Verisign has to pay fees for each .idn domain “activated”. It also is investing to get the system set up, and each registry will act independently with its own EPP, etc.

      But most importantly, Verisign wants to make money 🙂

  2. Mike

    Im being a bit newbie “ish” perhaps if I ask the following question, but hey ho you cannot see me blushing with embarrassment . So if I already own say, example, “me.com” in arabic IDN script what will this to me in terms of any benefits ,spin offs etc ?. Anything ?.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Mike – right now you can only own the second level in that script; the top level .com is in latin script.

      There are ccTLDs that are IDN.IDN, but for .com you can only get IDN.com.

      This will change with the transliterations. You’ll no longer need to switch scripts.

  3. Tim

    Thanks for writing about it.

    Most all the other bloggers don’t care or don’t even understand IDNs at all.

  4. Mike

    @andrew Noted thanks. So in effect the registering of an IDN.com now can act as a block to someone registering an equivelant cc tld ?

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Mike – register IDN.com now will not block someone registering an equivalent “cc tld”. It will block them from being able to register the same IDN under any of the transliterations of .com that Verisign has applied for.

  5. Gary

    @Tim. You’re right, the level of ignorance out there is quite astonishing.

    Anyone who has bothered to do their research, will know that these IDN gTLDs transliterations are not just another .whatever that may or may not get traction.

    Unlike all the other .whatevers coming, there is more than enough evidence to show that in certain languages people have been typing in these not-yet-launched gTLDs for years, as afterall it’s how a native hears/writes/reads/interprets “com”.

    What this all boils down to is traffic. And traffic that has been hitting a 404, will suddenly find a home.

  6. Steve

    @ Andrew,
    Charging more than a nominal fee for activating the idn.idn of a .com or .net should not happen.
    Only one site is allowed to resolve for both domains so why should they be able to charge for more than one domain. ???
    .cn gives you 2-3 versions of the idn.cn’s with no extra charges for the variations.

    • Andrew Allemann

      @ Steve – .cn is a country code without the same obligations and contracting structure.

      These IDN that Verisign is going after are individual top level domains, each of which has a contract with Verisign. The registrars also have to integrate systems to allow the unlocking to work. Both are going to want a cut of the action.

  7. Steve

    Verisign needs to promote/advertise the fact that people will be able to type and surf in their native languages in the .com and .net extensions in a BIG WAY!
    Forcing non-English speaking surfers to type in English is ridiculous. The more people that realize they can surf and type .com and .net’s in their native languages the better.
    I have received more offers for idn.com’s this year than ever before. Ppc is also getting better on the idn.com’s and .nets as well.

  8. lee

    Doing this:

    “All unlocked transliterations must have the same registrant, registrar, and nameservers.”

    Does not in itself enforce this:

    “It sounds like you can’t “split” the .com and transliteration into two separate websites”

    Nameservers are just nameservers. They don’t control where domains point, its the host records within the nameservers that do. VeriSign has yet to explain how and if they are going to “police” the issue, or will it just be a case of “if you point your .com translits to different places you run the risk of losing the registration?”

    I’m not saying that’s a good solution, or even workable. But VeriSign needs to explain how this enforcement is going to happen.

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