ICANN has approved Chinese Domain Names to be registered using only chinese characters. Until now, web addresses have only been latin-based characters.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finally approved the creation of web domain names using only Chinese language characters. The decision was announced during the 38th International ICANN meeting in Brussels which took place between the 20 - 25 of June, 2010. ICANN is the non-profit private body that oversees all net addresses in the online world. In short, it is like the land registration department but on the global scale and with limitless digital addresses.
ICANN has been working on the creation of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) Project for the past few years. The IDNs project aims to create a system where web domain names can be written in different languages, mainly in the non-Latin based languages. The web is populated with what you and I are familiar with – the .com and .co.uk etc. However, ICANN did not foresee the exponential increase in the adoption of internet when it was first invented. Therefore, the system is limited only to Latin scripts addresses.
Today, ICANN decision is definitely a sensible one as only 40 percent of the online world is dominated by English speaking users, while the other 60 percent of users are seeing the web through other languages. ICANN commented that the Internet Engineering Task Force within the organisation has put a lot of hard work over many years in order to develop a domain name system that accepts a mixture of Latin and native character sets. It was their engineers’ dedication that made it possible now to roll out domain names that can be written completely in non-Latin scripts.
Chinese speaking users dominate almost one fifth of the real world, therefore the ICANN decision on IDNs in Chinese characters is warmly welcome by the global community. ICANN said that the IDNs Project hopes to address the contradiction of English language dominating the wired world even though there are more non-native English speakers in the world made of flesh and blood. Consequently, the Chinese people will soon find it much easier to type their web addresses because they can write it out in their own language.
However, the Chinese was not the first one who got the green light for the use of IDNs. The Arabic countries were amongst the first to put their IDNs live to the world a few months back. People in countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates are now enjoying the freedom to register their web site name in their own language.
ICANN’s approval on the Chinese web domain names is estimated to affect countries such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as these countries use Chinese characters for their written scripts. It is estimated that the ICANN will benefit almost one billion of people who uses the Chinese language as their daily language.
It is foreseeable that many people will be rushing towards registering their desired Chinese domain names. However, ICANN should put in place a black out period that invites only copyright holders to register their domain names before opening up the system to the public. This approach can help to prevent a lot of unnecessary cyber squatting.