Saturday, May 08, 2010

IDN's are here

The English language has 26 letters, which when combined, produce an awful lot of words, and an even greater variety of phrases.Yet, we are running of cool domain names. Forget english words and phrases, even invented words that are catchy and easy to pronounce are in short supply.

Having missed on the first gold rush, I thought the IDNs may be an opportunity to get the kind of domain names I have always wished for. Short for Internationalized Domain names, IDN's are essentially non latin domain names. The first fully IDN domain names made their debut yesterday. This is several months after an article in one of the mainstream Indian dailies recently about Hindi domain names finally making their debut. And yes, Hindi has lost out because of proedural delays, so the first ones are in Arabic.

However, it was quite a surprise for me to know that the non english domain names have really been available since 2001. What is really new is the approval of non english extensions (so you could have the localized version of .com, .net, .tv), but sites like हिन्दीडोमेननाम.com have been around for quite sometime. A lot of issues need to be sorted. For example- how to make sure you get your email with a domain name that looks like line noise to legacy email servers? Nevertheless, I find it pretty surprising that the browsers can handle Hindi and Arabic domain names.

So here is a link to the first among equals http://موقع.وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر/. From my broken reading of Arabic, this is the website for Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Egypt. (At first look, I translated this as Ministry of Publications and Technical Information).

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