Monday, June 20, 2011

New gTLD Program Approved

As predicted in a prior blog post earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted today to approve the new generic top level domain (gTLD) program, opening the door to additional top level domains, particularly those of international language. Applications for newly proposed gTLDs will be accepted between January 12, 2012 and April 12, 2012. Read the press release for full details.

Today, DNS domain administrators are typically concerned with a handful of TLDs "under" which to register their organization's domain name(s) and maintain zone data. For example most commercial organizations register within the .com gTLD and perhaps a country code TLD (ccTLD) in which services or products are offered. The addition of perhaps hundreds of new TLDs, many of them "international", meaning they are respresented in non-ASCII characters, could present a couple of new challenges for DNS administrators.

The first challenge is that of sheer effort in supporting the registration process with each gTLD of interest. Corresponding zones and zone data must also be configured, though use of a common zone file can simplify the ongoing maintenance effort required, assuming you're publishing common DNS data across all TLDs. The second challenge relates to configuring international domain names (IDNs) in DNS. Several RFCs define this process under the guise of International Domain Names for Applications (IDNA). If you'd like to read up on IDNA and the effort required to implement it, check out my new white paper.

While most of us have enough to do without taking on additional work, the business side of your organization may wish to simplify access to your website and email for users of a particular language. Supporting international gTLDs enables fully "native language" domains names. What could be simpler? As is typical, "simple" for end users translates into more work on network administration. But supporting additional revenue opportunities benefits everyone in the organization.

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