Dated June 23, 2009
THIS time next year, you may be able to register your online business domain name in another language, thanks to a concept called Internationalisation of Domain Names (IDNs).
This time next year, you may be able to register your online business domain name in another language, thanks to a concept called Internationalisation of Domain Names (IDNs).
When the online domain name system was established about 30 years ago, it was written in Roman characters. Now it's going to be opened up to any character from any language. Domain names are the web addresses you type in your browser and the IDN move means non-Romanised characters can be used.
IDNs will incorporate languages from across Asia, India, the Middle East and Europe, allowing millions of people around the world who do not use the English language to go online.
"The fastest growth part of the internet is in Asia," says the chief executive and president of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Dr Paul Twomey.
"It's going to mean there will be increasingly domain names and Top Level Domains (TLDs) that support all the different Asian languages and can be supported by Asian keyboards."
Being able to use your own language to access the internet opens up innovative ways for people to express themselves and their business on the internet.
"Sydney is a very multicultural city and there will be great opportunities for people from different ethnic communities to look at having online businesses with domain names that are in the character sets of their home countries," Twomey says.
As an example, a company that operates in Australia and has links into Hong Kong can have a domain name in both Chinese and Roman characters.
"I think for a small business, they'll be looking out for a top-level domain that's expressing the sort of identity they want," Twomey says.
The chief executive for .au Domain Administration Ltd, Chris Disspain, adds IDNs will include the indigenous language.
"There's about 12 active indigenous languages," Disspain says. "The key with IDNs is that it's going to create a massive explosion in the number of internet users. Millions of people who currently can't use the internet will be able to."
Applications around IDNs are expected to become available early next year. One of the other online developments to take shape is the expansion ofTLD name endings beyond .com and .org and country codes like .au.
Twomey says some examples of how these endings might evolve
include city names such as .sydney or .newyork, company names such as .fairfax as well as ones like .sport and .shop.
Discussions about IDNs and the expansion of TLDs will be held this week during the ICANN 35th public meeting, which is being held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney until Friday.