To enable more global participation on the Web, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and technical community, along with country-code (ccTLD) and generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) registries, have spent the last several years completing policy and technical implementation work to allow non-English speaking registrants to obtain domain name registrations in non-Latin scripts and characters, such as Arabic, Cyrillic, Chinese and Hindi.

Below is a summary of the most recent 2nd level (before “the dot”) IDN opportunities of which you should be aware:

.SG (Singapore)
On May 6, 2010, the Sunrise Phase for Trademark holders for IDN.SG (Chinese ONLY) closed.  On June 9, 2010, CSC anticipates successful IDN.SG Sunrise applications will be activated by the .SG Registry and available for use.  IDN.SG Landrush will begin on June 10, 2010 and IDN.SG names will be awarded on a First Come, First Served basis from that point forward.

.TEL
Beginning on June 15, 2010, Telnic (.TEL Registry) will make available .TEL IDNs in the following languages: Chinese, Danish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.  All registrations will be on a first-come, first served basis.  There will be no Sunrise period for trademark holders for this launch.  One (1) and two (2) character IDN.TEL domains will be available for registration.

For priority handling of your IDN.TEL registration request, orders must be placed with CSC by 2pm EDT on June 14, 2010.

.NZ (New Zealand)
The .NZ Registry has begun to offer IDNs with macronised vowels (ā, ē, ī, ō and ū) which are featured in the Māori language, an official language under New Zealand law.  The Sunrise phase of the launch commenced on April 6, 2010 and will expire on July 6, 2010.  During Sunrise, only those with existing .NZ names may register Māori IDN variants of their existing .NZ name(s).

For priority handling of your IDN.NZ registration request, orders must be placed with CSC by 12 pm EDT on July 1, 2010.

First come, first served IDN.NZ registration of domain names with macronised vowels will begin on July 26, 2010.  Māori (with the “ā” macron) will be added to the list of allowed second level domain names (2LDs) at this time as well. Both .māori.nz and .maori.nz will be valid 2LDs. All existing and future names registered under .maori.nz will be duplicated in the DNS to be available under .māori.nz as well.

Significant effort by ICANN and country-code registries has also been undertaken over the last several years to enable IDNs after “the dot” (often referred to as IDN ccTLDs/Fast Track IDNs) so that an entire domain name (brand.TLD) can be registered in a non-Latin script.  Below is a summary of recent availability and activity regarding these types of IDNs:

Russian Federation– .RF (.рф)
The Russian Federation began launch activities for .рф in November 2009 when it submitted its application for the IDN version of .RF to ICANN as part of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process.  The 1st Sunrise Phase, reserved for those with Trademarks in Cyrillic only, concluded on May 11, 2010.  The remaining Sunrise Phases are as follow:

Phase Start  Date End date
Sunrise for Trademarks in Latin and Cyrillic characters or in Latin script only May 12, 2010 September 16, 2010
Sunrise for trade names July 15, 2010 September 16, 2010
Sunrise for Geographical indications of goods origin July 15, 2010 September 16, 2010
Sunrise for non-profit organizations July 15, 2010 September 16, 2010
Sunrise for Mass Media July 15, 2010 September 16, 2010

For the current Sunrise Phase, Trademarks in Latin and Cyrillic characters or in Latin script only, the domain name must exactly match the trademark.  If the trademark being used as the basis of the domain name application is in a script other than all Cyrillic, the trademark must be translated into Cyrillic entirely and only an exactly matching Cyrillic domain name application may be submitted.

For the upcoming Sunrise Phase for Trade Names beginning on July 15, 2010, please be advised that only Russian organizations are eligible. All applications during this phase must be accompanied by a special extract from the Organization Registry provided by the Russian Tax Department.  This extract needs to be issued no later than twenty (20) calendar days prior to submitting the application.

CSC is currently accepting .рф orders.  CSC continues to await further information from the Russian Federation on the exact timing of the Landrush Phase for .рф, however, this phase is expected to take place sometime during the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2010.

Saudi Arabia – .ALSAUDIAH (.السعودية)
On May 5, 2010,. ALSAUDIAH (.السعودية), was one (1) of the first three (3) IDN ccTLDs to be delegated to the root servers by ICANN.  As a result, SaudiNIC, the .السعودية Registry, has announced the following launch schedule for registrations:

Sunrise (May 31, 2010 – July 12, 2010) – The Registry (SaudiNIC) shall begin acceptance of applications for the registration of Arabic domain names from qualified registrants.  A qualified registrant is an entity who has a registered trade name or trademark with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Saudi Arabia.

Landrush (September 27, 2010) – SaudiNIC shall begin accepting applications for registration of Arabic domain names from members of the general public on a first come, first served basis.

During Sunrise registration, the domain name applied for must exactly match the trade name listed on the Company Registration Certificate (CRC) or Trademark (TM) on file with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Saudi Arabia.  The TM or CRC on file must be in the Arabic language (without alternation, abbreviation or translation) and all applications must conform with all terms and conditions of Arabic Domain Name Registration Regulation and other SaudiNIC’s related regulations and procedures.  Furthermore, the registrant of the domain name must match the owner listed on the corresponding trade name or trademark on the CRC or TM Certificate.  Domain names must also contain a minimum of 3 characters/symbols and at least 2 servers must be pre-configured for each name domain name submitted.

CSC is currently accepting .السعودية  orders.  We are still awaiting final Landrush rules from the SaudiNic and will apprise clients of those requirements once they become available.

United Arab Emirates – .EMARAT (.امارات)
Another of the first three (3) IDN ccTLDs to be delegated to the root servers by ICANN on May 5, 2010 was EMARAT (.امارات).  As a result, aeDA, the .امارات Registry announced the following launch schedule in late May:

Phase I – Governmental Institutions (May 30, 2010 – September 26, 2010):  This phase shall be specialized for governmental institutions.

Phase II – Trademarks (September 27, 2010 – October 22, 2010):  This phase is for owners of trademarks registered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and any other Arab country.  Priority will be granted to the holders of UAE trademark registrations.  Qualifying UAE trademarks can be in either Latin or Arabic characters, however, if the trademark being used as the basis of the domain name application is in Latin, the trademark must be translated into Arabic and only an exactly matching Arabic domain name application may be submitted

Phase III – Landrush/Generic (November 15, 2010 – November 19, 2010):  This phase is for the distinctive names, namely descriptive or commonly used names, such as “hotels.emarat” “restaurants.emarat” “food.emarat” , etc…(in Arabic translation). Registrants must demonstrate and tender proof that there is a relationship between themselves/their company and the name applied.  In situations where multiple applications are received for a specific name, qualified applicants will compete for the name through an auction process.

Phase IV – General Availability (December 11, 2010):  Registration shall be opened for the general public.

Egypt – .MISR (.مصر)
On May 5, 2010, the 3rd IDN ccTLD to be delegated to the root servers by ICANN was .MISR (.مصر).  CSC is currently awaiting launch details and complete rules from Egypt.  Once we receive this information we will make it available to our clients.


Additional IDN ccTLD Implementations

The following nine (9) countries have applied for an IDN ccTLD, which are expected to be delegated into the root servers by ICANN within the next couple of months:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Jordan
  • Palestinian Territory
  • Qatar
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia

Furthermore, ICANN has received eight (8) additional IDN ccTLD applications that are currently undergoing string evaluation.  The name of each country who has submitted an application will not be released by ICANN until it successfully passed string evaluation and recommended for delegation.  CSC will continue to monitor these developments and will share information about upcoming IDN ccTLD launches as it becomes available.

Please be advised that IDN registration can provide corporations with the ability to connect with new global customers and build greater global brand awareness without the need for brick and mortar presence.  However, the proliferation of IDNs will also cause new budget and brand protection challenges.  CSC clients are strongly recommended to contact their CSC Global Brand Advisor for assistance with developing a cost-effective, comprehensive IDN ccTLD strategy that strikes the right balance between brand promotion and brand protection in this rapidly evolving environment.  CSC clients can request a FREE consultation with a CSC Global Brand Advisor, by clicking the “Request a Consultation” button on the right.

Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) Update

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