Archive for the ‘IDN ccTLD’ Category

Russia’s Cyrillic IDN ccTLD blasts off through the 500K mark in under a week

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

By Jon Lawrence

Since last Thursday’s launch of Russia’s Cyrillic script IDN ccTLD, registration volumes have smashed all expectations, much like a Soyuz rocket blasting off into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

At the time of writing (14:00 17/11/2010 UTC), .рф, which is Cyrillic for RF (short for Российская Федерация – Russian Federation) has just exceeded 500,000 registrations, having passed the 100,000 mark in the first three hours. It is already among the top 30 ccTLDs worldwide and heading towards the top 20 at high speed. Andrei Kolesnikov, Director of ccTLD.ru, the organisation that manages both .рф and Russia’s ASCII script .ru ccTLD, said last week that he expected there would be ‘as many as 100,000’ domains registered in .рф by the end of 2010. Clearly, he was somewhat conservative with this projection! Less than two months after .ru joined the 3 million club, it is far from idle speculation to now start thinking about when .рф will overtake its older sibling.

It is also worth considering that the other recent TLD launch that has attracted significant registration volumes – the launch of second-level registrations under Colombia’s .co – took two months to hit the half million mark. .рф managed that feat in only six days.

Registrations in .рф are restricted to Russian citizens and Russian-registered businesses and are priced at the same level as for .ru. RU Center – the largest Registrar in Russia – are selling both .ru and .рф for 600 Rubles, a shade under US$20.00 at current exchange rates. There are a total of 26 registrars currently accredited for .рф. The .рф string was selected in preference to a direct transliteration of ‘RU’ which would be ‘PY’ in Cyrillic, due to potential visual conflict with Paraguay’s existing .py ASCII script ccTLD.

According to ccTLD.ru, the most popular letters in the addresses registered in the first hour were ы and я — Cyrillic characters with no equivalent in the Roman script. Clearly, the demand for domain names including these characters has been building since the internet became an everyday phenomenon in Russia.

Even if we assume that a large proportion of registrations are speculative at this early stage, the launch of .рф cannot be regarded as anything but a huge success. This success proves that there is real community demand for native script Top-Level Domains, and bodes well for the prospects of other IDN Top-Level Domains, in both the ccTLD and gTLD contexts. It can also been seen as a vindication of the ICANN Board’s decision to proceed with the IDN ccTLD program on a ‘Fast Track’, ahead of the finalisation of the new gTLD program, due to a perception of strong demand, particularly from the Russian and Chinese language communities. The reality of that demand has now been conclusively established.

As Milton Mueller pointed out back in 2007, the Fast Track program has created an opportunity for IDN ccTLDs to establish themselves in the market before the introduction of a wave of new gTLDs, which will likely include dozens, if not hundreds of IDN gTLDs covering dozens of scripts.

We look forward with eager anticipation to the launch of other IDN ccTLDs, including Qatar’s قطر. which was recently approved for delegation by the ICANN Board. To date, ICANN have approved 34 IDN ccTLD strings, from 21 countries and covering 13 different scripts. 15 of these 34 strings have been delegated into the root. See ICANN’s String Evaluation Completion page for the full list.

AusRegistry International is the Domain Name Registry Software and Services provider for the United Arab Emirates’ .ae and امارات. (.emarat) ccTLDs and for Qatar’s .qa and قطر. (.qatar) ccTLDs.

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.