ICANN Test-Pilots g-TLD Suffixes in Eight Languages
Starting October 15, 2007, Internet users will be able to access wiki pages with the domain name "example.test" in 11 test languages — Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil - as part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' evaluation of fully internationalized domain names next week that will allow Internet users to test top-level domains in 11 languages. The wikis will allow Internet users to establish their own subpages with their own names in their own language. The evaluation is being done in the 11 languages of the Internet communities that have shown the most interest in moving IDNs from concept to reality.
More information on ICANN's IDN program is available at http://icann.org/topics/idn/.
The development means the domain-name suffix, the part of a Web address after the dot -- such as "com" or "org" -- could now be in a language like Japanese or Hindi . . . [and] follows Icann's decision in 2003 to allow the part of a domain name preceding the dot, called the secondary-level domain name, to be in a language that uses a non-Roman alphabet.. . . [S]ome countries, most notably China, South Korea and some Arabic-speaking nations, as well as private entities in Europe, have created domain names in their own languages, using non-Roman letters, independent of Icann. These separate systems, known as alternative roots, can create online confusion, with duplicated domain names or multiple addresses for the same sites.. . . Theoretically all pilots speak English when trying to land a plane," said Paul Mockapetris, who invented the domain-name system in the early 1980s. The internationalized domain names are "a huge opportunity for balkanizing the Internet or uniting it -- we'll know which way it goes in about 10 years."