Archive for the ‘emarat’ Category

Navigating online in Arabic key to greater regional Internet participation

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

By Adrian Kinderis

Adrian KinderisIn a special opinion editorial first published by ITP Magazine, Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services, explains why nurturing an end-to-end Arabic online experience will be important to address the needs of the next 90 million Arabic Internet users.

By Adrian Kinderis
Dubai, UAE – Monday 4 March 2013

The next time you’re driving down the D89 Airport Road to Dubai International Airport, take a moment to look at the advertising billboards. In particular, look at the domain names used in the call to action.

You will notice a number of Arabic advertisements aimed entirely at an Arabic audience that strangely feature domain names written in English.

How can we expect the Arabic community to navigate to online content using domain names written in a foreign language? Furthermore, how many real world and e-commerce transactions are missed because an Arabic speaker was unable to navigate online?

The problem is that while there have been advancements in Arabic content and applications, the very infrastructure used to navigate online has not kept pace – namely the regional domain name market.

We know the next billion Internet users won’t come from English speaking countries. The same can be said for the Arab region; the next 90 million Arabic Internet users will expect to navigate the Internet in their native language.

The writing is on the wall – and it is in Arabic script. Arabic is the fastest growing language online with growth of more than 2500 percent between 2000 and 2011. Arabic is also the fastest-growing language on Twitter.

These roadside billboards offer an insight into the challenges faced by Arabic speakers online and highlights the limitations of the regional domain name market and the options available to businesses wanting to register domain names. It shows there is a disconnect between an increasingly online-orientated society and the accessibility of participation.

Is it no wonder that many local Internet users rely on Google to navigate the Internet? Why should they have to rely on a third party to seek out the content they are looking for?

What we need is an end-to-end Arabic online experience for the Arabic speaking community. This means an Arabic keyboard to type in an Arabic domain name to visit Arabic content.

The solution is Arabic Internationalised Domain Names which eliminate the reliance on traditional Latin scripts and instead allow Arabic speakers to navigate in their own language. Non-Latin Arabic script domains will be a significant factor in helping the next wave of Arab Internet users navigate to online Arabic content.

There are a number of countries already hosting Arabic script domains, including the United Arab Emirates (امارات.), Oman (عمان.) and Qatar (قطر.). These national digital assets are of enormous value to their respective countries and the citizens who access the Internet through them. However, they are being underutilised and are limited to the boundaries of the individual countries – stifling region-wide participation.

However, later this year, a new Arabic script domain name is set to revolutionise the Internet in the Arab region.  شبكة. (.shabaka – translates to .web in Arabic) will establish an entire corner of the Internet completely dedicated to the Arabic language, culture and society.

Unlike the national Arabic scripts currently available, شبكة. will be the first cross-border Arabic Top-Level Domain extension open to all Arabic speakers across the region. It will provide an emotive connection between Arabic culture and the community while opening an online channel to intuitively connect Arabic speakers to online Arabic content.

Initiatives such as  شبكة. will help bridge the gap between Arabic content and Arabic speaking Internet users. It will help provide the platform needed to fuel greater Arabic orientated online entrepreneurism and innovation.

Furthermore, there are commercial incentives for Arab-based organisations to help break down the accessibility barriers. To put a price on this, the Gulf Cooperation Council predicts B2C e-commerce sales in the region will reach around $15 billion by 2015. Savvy business leaders would be wise to recognise this commercial potential.

The big question is, who is responsible for facilitating this end-to-end Arabic online experience? The beauty of the Internet means it will be a collaborative approach from the business sector generating the Arabic content, to policy makers raising greater awareness and the industry providing the technology and platform.

I strongly believe that this will go a long way to removing the barriers to greater Internet participation in the Arab region.

It is my prediction that in the near future we will see a greater number of Arabic advertising billboards targeting Arabic speakers with Arabic script domain names such as شبكة. directing viewers to engaging online Arabic content.

The dawn of the end-to-end Arabic online experience is upon us.

By Adrian Kinderis
Adrian is CEO of ARI Registry Services, a global domain name technology company. Adrian discussed the topic of developing a robust Internet in the Arab region during his keynote address at the ‘Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance in the Arab world’ forum on Monday 4 March 2013 at the Radisson Royal Dubai.

One Billion Internet Users

Monday, July 12th, 2010

By Jon Lawrence

Last week ICANN took another very significant step forward in the expansion of the internet by approving the delegation of a number of Chinese script IDN ccTLDs.

Although we have all heard statements that portray the introduction of IDN ccTLDs as being perhaps the single most important factor in the achievement of ICANN’s “One World, One Internet” vision, we should take a moment to appreciate the true significance of this latest round of IDN ccTLD approvals.

There are over one billion people in the Chinese language community, an audience that until last week required some knowledge of the Latin alphabet to navigate the internet using the Domain Name System. Even with a basic grasp of the Latin alphabet, the painful usability issue of having to switch between Chinese and Latin keyboard layouts has been a significant barrier for many end-users.

chinese add

The significance of introducing IDN ccTLDs into the Chinese language context is not just about improving accessibility, however.

We should spare a thought for the marketing managers who are tasked with communicating to an audience of over a billion Chinese consumers.

At first glance it seems like a brilliant opportunity, however it becomes a little tougher once you consider the following…

You’re running a traditional advertising campaign. You have the right brand, you’ve developed the right message and you finally have people reading and wanting to respond to your ads. All that’s required from here is the ability to drive website traffic directly from your advertisement, but you only have a Latin-based Domain Name at your disposal.

What do you think your chances of success are if your audience is unable to understand what your Latin-based domain name is?

Very little, next to none, even. In this context, the big bad (and expensive) world of search engine marketing is your only fall-back.

While I don’t profess to be fluent in Chinese, the advertisement I have included above is an example of how difficult it currently is for Chinese marketers to generate effective direct response advertising and achieve messaging efficiency.

The latest round of IDN ccTLD delegations will change all of this and change it in a big way.

Once Chinese IDN ccTLDs are introduced, more consumers will be drawn to the internet as language and usability barriers are removed. Internet penetration should accelerate and marketers will find themselves operating in a world where the doors of direct-response marketing will be flung wide open. Message recall and direct, browser-based website traffic should improve dramatically and Chinese marketers will finally be able to include a website as the primary call to action with a high level of confidence that it will succeed.

When you consider these points in the context of the sheer size of the Chinese language market, it’s easy to see the importance of this latest list of delegations to the overall success of the IDN Fast Track program.

Both China and Taiwan have had Simplified and Traditional script versions of their IDN ccTLDs approved. These are to be managed as ‘Synchronised IDN ccTLDs’, which means that both versions should resolve to the same address.

Hong Kong is spared this additional level of complexity by the simple fact that ‘Hong Kong’ is written using the same characters in both script versions. Domain names registered under .香港 will be issued both Traditional and Simplified variants, however.

The Chinese IDN ccTLDs that will soon be delegated into the root are therefore as follows:

China
.中国 (Simplified)
.中國 (Traditional)

Hong Kong
.香港

TWNIC
.台湾 (Simplified)
.台灣 (Traditional)

Recently, IANA also announced that three further IDN ccTLDs have passed the String Evaluation Phase. These are:

سوريا. (.syria – Arabic)

.新加坡 (.singapore – Chinese)
.சிங்கப்பூர் (.singapore – Tamil)

We would like to congratulate CNNIC, TWNIC and HKIRC on having their Chinese IDN ccTLD delegations approved. We would also like to congratulate SGNIC and Syria’s National Agency for Network Services on passing the String Evaluation Phase.

AusRegistry International is a strong supporter of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Program and is a leading provider of IDN-enabled Domain Name Registry Software and Consulting Services to ccTLD Managers. We are currently supporting the launch of the Arabic script امارات. (.emarat) IDN ccTLD for the United Arab Emirates as well as the قطر. (.qatar) Arabic script IDN ccTLD for Qatar.

IDN ccTLDs- Our Work is Only Just Beginning

Monday, May 31st, 2010

By Adrian Kinderis

Last week, I was invited by the United Arab Emirates’ Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) to join ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom at the official launch of the امارات. (.emarat) Arabic script IDN ccTLD. The event was held in Abu Dhabi and was hosted by H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim Director-General of the United Arab Emirates TRA.

AusRegistry International has enjoyed a strong partnership with the TRA for a number of years now and I am particularly proud of the role our organisation is playing in supporting the Domain Name industry in the UAE with both the .ae, and now the امارات. namespaces.

The launch was a formal recognition of the leading role that the UAE is playing in the introduction of IDN ccTLDs, the most significant transformation of the internet landscape since the creation of the Domain Name System in the 1980s.

This expansion of the internet’s addressing layer to include non-Latin scripts removes a fundamental hurdle that has excluded billions of people in language communities that do not use the Latin alphabet from experiencing the full benefits of the internet revolution.

I would like to congratulate our colleagues  at the TRA on the achievement of this historic milestone and make special note of Rod Beckstrom’s generosity in taking the time to come to the UAE to participate in this event.

It is important however, to recognise that while the introduction of IDN ccTLDs is a critical and necessary step in the expansion of internet accessibility, ICANN’s vision of ‘One World, One Internet, Everyone Connected’ currently remains a distant spot on the horizon.

Whilst I sat there amongst the celebration, I began to think about the questions and topics  that will need to be addressed as we strive to transform IDNs from an exciting opportunity, into something both viable and sustainable.

To realise the full potential of IDN ccTLDs we all have a long road ahead. The work completed thus far is really only the beginning.

There is no doubt we have a great product at our utilisation, however we must also accept that a product is only as good as the market situations that surround it.

Product Demand and Uptake

•    Is the IDN value proposition strong enough to drive change in Registrant and end user audiences?

•    Who will be the early adopters and influencers in the uptake of IDN ccTLDs?

•    Where can we expect IDNs to be positioned? Is it Value or Price?

End User Behavioural Change

•    Will Registrants and end users be open to the change presented by IDN ccTLDs?

•    To what extent will Registry operators and Registrars need to invest in marketing and education to drive behavioural change within the end user audience?

•    Will IDNs play a role in pulling end users away from search based browsing?

User Experience

•    How will developers of web browsers and other internet applications overcome the complex technical challenges that IDN ccTLDs introduce?

Internet Penetration

•    What changes can countries introducing IDN ccTLDs expect to see with respect to penetration and usage figures?

•    Will IDNs play a role in driving online business and market expansion? If so, will governments support this business opportunity?

Registrar Channels

•    To what extent will Registrars take a leading role in educating the user community?

•    What is the makeup of a typical IDN Registrar? Is it any different than an existing Registrar?

Marketing

•    What role will IDN ccTLDs play in marketing strategy and execution for leading brands?

•    How will marketers handle the transition and implementation of IDN ccTLDs?

•    What affect will IDN ccTLDs have on search marketing?

I have been, and will continue to be a strong supporter of the IDN program and am genuinely excited about the transformational effect our work and the work of others is having across the globe.

And please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not pretending to have the answers (at least not yet!) what I am trying to display here is that there is a lot of thought, hard work and dedication still required to realise the full potential of IDN ccTLDs.

Some of these answers need to come from the experts  and leaders within the industry, and others will merely become apparent as we learn and evolve with the revolutionary and exciting changes our industry is experiencing.

In the mean time, we should celebrate this significant achievement, but keep one eye carefully focused on the exciting task that lies ahead.

IMG_0079

Celebrating the launch of the .emarat IDN ccTLD (from left to right), AusRegistry International CEO Adrian Kinderis, H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim Director-General of the United Arab Emirates TRA and ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom.