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Old 30th December 2009, 02:38 PM
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Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Back in October, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, began processing requests for domain names in non-Latin scripts such as Arabic.

In theory, this lowers the barrier for lower-income Arabic-speakers who are unfamiliar with the Latin alphabet to get online.

But for now, at least, registration is limited to official government domains, sparking fears of increased censorship and online "ghettoization."
Egypt, which was among the first Arab countries to apply for a domain names with Arabic letters, is ranked by Global Voices as one of the most repressive countries for bloggers.

Most experts agree that Arabic domain names will not enhance the government's ability to block specific websites.

But once Egypt is granted its own domain name, local sites that wish to register with the official domain must approach the government authority, which could reject an application from say, an opposition newspaper.

"It's likely that Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain will strictly limit which sites can be registered in their domain," Jillian York, the project coordinator of the OpenNet Initiative at Harvard University, wrote in an e-mail to The Times.

"Other countries, such as Libya, ... could see it as a financial opportunity," she added.
The popular URL shortening sites bit.ly and ow.ly are registered in Libya.


York went on to say that many Arabic speakers may choose to register their site with a different Arab country that may have looser restrictions. The greater concern for many is how businesses and institutions will maintain control over their brand without owning the phonetic or translated equivalent website in all languages.

More questions are likely to arise as the mushrooming of languages besides English on the Internet changes the very nature of the global network (Google’s Eric Schmidt recently predicted that Chinese will dominate the Web within five years). Arabic is currently the fastest-growing language online, with about 300 million native Arabic-speakers worldwide. Moreover, the huge deficit in online content in Arabic compared with the number of Arabs online, between 3% and 5% of all Internet users, suggests Arabic content will grow exponentially in the next few years.

Whether this ultimately makes the Internet a more or less inclusive place is being debated. Critics worry that the introduction of domains in non-Latin scripts will create walls between online communities where none existed before, making it harder for people from around the world to communicate.


But innovations in translation and search technology could, in fact, make those barriers more permeable. Already, applications like Google Translate allow non-Arabic speakers to scan headlines from the Arabic press.
“Bridges are going to be crossed,” said Samih Toukan, a Web entrepreneur and the founder of the Arabic portal Maktoob, which was acquired by Yahoo earlier this year.

“There will still remain a gap because people tend to gather in communities on the Internet, but the gap will be smaller.”
-- Meris Lutz in Beirut
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/baby...erghettos.html
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Old 30th December 2009, 02:47 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

Have these guys figured out whether the Moon is made of cheese yet, or not?
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Old 30th December 2009, 03:03 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Have these guys figured out whether the Moon is made of cheese yet, or not?
More disturbing is the fact that there doesn't seem to be a journalist yet that is interested in covering .com or .net. Maybe this is also Verisign's fault for being so mum on their developments?

Writers it seems would rather scream "cyber-ghetto" or "censorship" or alarmist terms to capture readers' attention.

Anyone thinking that allowing someone to use their language and have a website totally in their language is "cyber-ghetto" is racist in my book.

But where the hell is the .com and .net coverage? Damn Verisign get off your asses.
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Old 30th December 2009, 03:45 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Originally Posted by sarcle View Post
More disturbing is the fact that there doesn't seem to be a journalist yet that is interested in covering .com or .net. Maybe this is also Verisign's fault for being so mum on their developments?

Writers it seems would rather scream "cyber-ghetto" or "censorship" or alarmist terms to capture readers' attention.

Anyone thinking that allowing someone to use their language and have a website totally in their language is "cyber-ghetto" is racist in my book.

But where the hell is the .com and .net coverage? Damn Verisign get off your asses.
Either way, I won't be stepping foot on American soil until they have dropped the requirement for a physical lobotomy.
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Old 30th December 2009, 03:52 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

You might ask some of these guys how many Chinese or Japanese character sites they have actually visited? And how exactly how their model of a unified internet works in practice? If what they are saying is true less than a quarter of the sites they visit would be in English!

We English traditionally have taken great care to use the correct form of address. In this case, I think the correct collective term is MORONS.
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Old 30th December 2009, 04:02 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Originally Posted by Rubber Duck View Post
We English traditionally have taken great care to use the correct form of address. In this case, I think the correct collective term is MORONS.
I figured for the Brits the correct term would be wankers.
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Old 30th December 2009, 04:06 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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I figured for the Brits the correct term would be wankers.
Probably more Cockney, but at least they would understand what you were going on about! You could be severed with a cruelty order introducing them to stressful vocabulary.
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Old 12th January 2010, 08:04 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

Hi, all. I am new to this forum. I agree that there has been no coverage of .com and .net. I am thinking about kicking off coverage by issuing a press release offering ask.com in Arabic for sale for a sizeable sum. What do you think? good idea or not? But first, do I have the correct translation of ask.com...يسأل.COM Ask.com... What do you think?
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Old 12th January 2010, 08:20 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Originally Posted by EnSig View Post
Hi, all. I am new to this forum. I agree that there has been no coverage of .com and .net. I am thinking about kicking off coverage by issuing a press release offering ask.com in Arabic for sale for a sizeable sum. What do you think? good idea or not? But first, do I have the correct translation of ask.com...يسأل.COM Ask.com... What do you think?
Bad idea.

and yes you can try and argue that it's a generic term, but if they want it that badly they will WIPO you and you offering it for a "sizeable sum" will sound like bad faith registration/blackmail/extortion.

and seeing as you posted this idea publicly it's pre-meditated bad faith.

It would be real nice if new members first posts wasn't the "let's go and reg a famous brand and try and sell it to them"


welcome to the forum btw

edit: I read your post as you were suggesting to sell [arabic "ask"] dot com to the company Ask.com
if that wasn't your intention, then I take back what I said.. but the point still stands on being careful not to reg company names/brands.. it's always a gray area even for generic words.. there's too much other opportunity out there

Last edited by alpha; 12th January 2010 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 12th January 2010, 08:49 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Originally Posted by EnSig View Post
Hi, all. I am new to this forum. I agree that there has been no coverage of .com and .net. I am thinking about kicking off coverage by issuing a press release offering ask.com in Arabic for sale for a sizeable sum. What do you think? good idea or not? But first, do I have the correct translation of ask.com...يسأل.COM Ask.com... What do you think?
Welcome, EnSig. I like the idea of a press release but one that promotes IDNs in general. You're just looking for trouble and headaches promoting Ask.com. We need all the positives we can get. Stir the pot, don't shake it. Just my opinion.
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Old 12th January 2010, 09:05 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

Wow- that wasn't my intention at all.
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Old 12th January 2010, 09:20 PM
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Re: Will Arabic domain names help censorship, create 'cyber-ghettos'?

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Wow- that wasn't my intention at all.
You have to understand. We've spent many, many, years watching our little IDNs grow-up. It looks like now they are finally going to "move out of the house" so to speak. We want to watch them prosper and sometimes we can be quite protective Mothers of our children.

Personally ask.com would be the wrong word to PR even though it is generic and it wasn't your intention for obvious reasons.
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