Thursday, October 31, 2013

New and Different: New IDN and DNSSEC-signed gTLDs

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced last week that the first set of approved generic top level (gTLDs) has now been activated on the Internet by virtue of their delegations in the root zone of the global DNS system. According to the announcement, the first four delegations are:
  • شبكة (xn--ngbc5azd) – Arabic for "web/network". The domain registry responsible for managing subdelegations from this new TLD is International Domain Registry Pty. Ltd.
  • онлайн (xn--80asehdb) – Cyrillic for "online". The domain registry for this new TLD is  CORE Association
  • сайт (xn--80aswg) – Cyrillic for "site". The registry for this TLD also is  CORE Association
  • 游戏(xn--unup4y) – Chinese for "game(s)" and the domain registry is Spring Fields, LLC.
Notice that all of these are internationalized domain names (IDNs), with each TLD listed first in its native character set, followed in parenthesis with its equivalent ASCII (IDN) representation. Once the corresponding domain registries for these TLDs complete a post-delegation process to protect any trademark holders, the registries may begin delegating their own subdomains beneath these TLDs. When complete, for the first time, web users will be able to enter domains names in fully Cyrillic, Arabic or Chinese characters (though many country code TLDs are already internationalized).

As suggested in a prior post, organizations seeking to communicate or conduct business with web users of such "native" languages may desire to register and operate a subdomain in one or more of these new IDN gTLDs. Providing full native language support is expected to improve Internet usability and increase penetration.

IDN gTLDs are certainly new and different, as is the requirement that all new gTLDs under this program be secured via DNSSEC. That is each gTLD zone will be signed, which facilitates the signing of subdomains beneath these TLDs. Based on registry policies, registered subdomains may or may not require DNSSEC signing, though we recommend it to retain namespace integrity!

These successful delegations represent the first set of new gTLDs having been vetted through ICANN's "new gTLD" program, begun about twenty months ago, one of the major goals of which was to add support for "DNSSEC from the start" and  IDN gTLDs, With over 1400 gTLD candidates still working through the approval process, expect many more delegations coming soon!

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