Posts Tagged ‘Fast Track’

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.

First IDN ccTLD Fast Track Applications Approved

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

By Adrian Kinderis

On January 21, ICANN announced they had approved the first four applications from the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process which began after acceptance of the program by the ICANN Board at the Seoul meeting in November last year.

A total of 16 countries/territories applied for an IDN ccTLD name through the program and the successful applicants in this recent announcement by ICANN were the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. These nations can now enter the next phase of the program as they strive to provide their citizens with Domain Names in their local script.

AusRegistry International would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the successful applicants, in particular our friends and colleagues at the .ae Domain Administration (aeDA) in the United Arab Emirates who operate the .ae ccTLD and will be the operator of the new IDN ccTLD. Both the .ae ccTLD and the new IDN ccTLD will be powered by AusRegistry International’s Domain Name Registry Software.

AusRegistry International is very excited to be part of this historic evolution in the Internet and proud that one of the very first IDN TLDs will be running on the software we have invested so much time and effort in.

Once again, congratulations to the approved applicants!

To read more about the IDN ccTLDs and how AusRegistry International can assist applicants visit our website.

gTLDs : why are your overarching issues not relevant in IDN ccTLDs?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
By Adrian Kinderis
“If I would have a voting right, I would vote like this” said Janis Karklins, chair of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) as he empathically raised two arms in the air. He was showing his, and the GAC’s, overwhelming support for the ICANN Board unanimously (barring one abstention) passing the resolution that ratified the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process, propelling it toward an imminent release.
A standing ovation was given from a grateful and exuberant audience and everyone seemed pleased with this momentous decision. Even Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN has since stated that the decision is a “historic move toward the internationalization of the internet. We just made the internet much more accessible to millions of people in regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Russia.”
So, kudos to those that have pursued and supported this process, including the ccNSO, GAC and ICANN Board.
What is indeed interesting however, is the precedent that this vote has set, particularly in light of the new gTLD process and the continued issues and perceived problems that have marred its timely release.
Currently there are five unresolved issues that the GAC, and others, have openly commented on and demonstrated their concern to the point of attempting to block progress and the release of new gTLDs at all.
They are:
•    Malicious Conduct
•    Root Scaling
•    Economic Analysis
•    Trademark Protections
•    Vertical Separation
My point is not to discuss the validity of these concerns, although it is my belief that there is merit in discussing these items further. My concern is that there now seems to be a precedent introduced with respect to their review and relevance.
The issues above are certainly not unique to gTLDs, yet, in the ICANN Board’s eyes at least, they seem to be.
With the acceptance of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process we are setting up a very similar set of circumstances that are surrounding the introduction of new gTLDs.
The question is then; why haven’t these rules been applied to both processes?
To look at a few specific examples:
•    Root Scaling
Put overly simply there have been a number of concerns over the impact of the introduction of new gTLDs into the root. Yet, the amount of ccTLD Operators that could apply for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process is limited only to the 3166 – 1 list (a significant number in itself). Also, the issue of variants has the potential to  increase the number of TLD’s to be entered into the root. In addition, due to the encoding scheme used by IDNs, which produces much larger ASCII TLD strings than previously seen, the issue of DNS response packet size that also plague DNSSEC and IPv6 rollout in the root seems also to have gone by the wayside.
Why wouldn’t these potential impacts to the root, which given ICANNs actions seemingly only extend to the new gTLD Process, be raised with respect to the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process?
•    Economic Analysis
This is centred on the evidence of demonstrated demand for new gTLDs. The voices of potential applicants and entrepreneurs seem to be muted unless a credible economic study has been produced. However, where does such a study or studies exist for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process? Let’s be clear, I am not arguing that there isn’t demand but where has it been documented just as has been required in the new gTLD process?
•    Trademark Protections
To me, the issue of Trademark Protections is somewhat being fought at the second level as ICANN staff seem to have built in decent and clearly identifiable protections for Trademark holders at the top level. If this is true then where are all the trademark lobby groups with respect to IDN ccTLDs? In fact, the issue is made worse by the minimalist approach to the Contracts that are signed between IDN ccTLD Registry Operators and ICANN. Essentially each IDN ccTLD Registry Operator is free to operate their domain name space as they see fit. Where is the trademark protection for trademark holders in this process? Why is this a non-issue for the GAC and ICANN Board in the IDN ccTLD Process, yet a significant issue worthy of retarding the new gTLD Process? Staggering!
There are a number of other issues that seem to have been simply ignored while we all got caught up in the romantic plight of a non-ASCII internet using public. Let’s remember each IDN ccTLD is free to allocate geographic second level names yet the GAC has now requested a veto right for second level registrations in gTLD’s. I am not sure I understand the difference.
Once again, let’s be clear. I totally support the IDN ccTLD Fast Track and I, too, am enthused by the opportunities it affords the ‘non ASCII’ internet using public. However, I am gravely concerned by the outrageous double standard that has been applied by the GAC and ICANN Board to these parallel processes with undeniably identical issues and impacts.
If they aren’t important enough to be required at the loosely (if at all) ICANN regulated  ccTLD level then let’s clear the way and get on with the opening up of applications for new gTLDs. Let’s hope a standing ovation and an exuberant GAC chair awaits an ICANN Meeting soon when the gTLD Application process is finally ratified by the ICANN Board.

By Adrian Kinderis

“If I would have a voting right, I would vote like this” said Janis Karklins, chair of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) as he empathically raised two arms in the air. He was showing his, and the GAC’s, overwhelming support for the ICANN Board unanimously (barring one abstention) passing the resolution that ratified the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process, propelling it toward an imminent release.

A standing ovation was given from a grateful and exuberant audience and everyone seemed pleased with this momentous decision. Even Rod Beckstrom, president and CEO of ICANN has since stated that the decision is a “historic move toward the internationalization of the internet. We just made the internet much more accessible to millions of people in regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Russia.”

So, kudos to those that have pursued and supported this process, including the ccNSO, GAC and ICANN Board.

What is indeed interesting however, is the precedent that this vote has set, particularly in light of the new gTLD process and the continued issues and perceived problems that have marred its timely release.

Currently there are five unresolved issues that the GAC, and others, have openly commented on and demonstrated their concern to the point of attempting to block progress and the release of new gTLDs at all.

They are:

•    Malicious Conduct

•    Root Scaling

•    Economic Analysis

•    Trademark Protections

•    Vertical Separation

My point is not to discuss the validity of these concerns, although it is my belief that there is merit in discussing these items further. My concern is that there now seems to be a precedent introduced with respect to their review and relevance.

The issues above are certainly not unique to gTLDs, yet, in the ICANN Board’s eyes at least, they seem to be.

With the acceptance of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process we are setting up a very similar set of circumstances that are surrounding the introduction of new gTLDs.

The question is then; why haven’t these rules been applied to both processes?

To look at a few specific examples:

•    Root Scaling

Put overly simply there have been a number of concerns over the impact of the introduction of new gTLDs into the root. Yet, the amount of ccTLD Operators that could apply for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process is limited only to the 3166 – 1 list (a significant number in itself). Also, the issue of variants has the potential to  increase the number of TLD’s to be entered into the root. In addition, due to the encoding scheme used by IDNs, which produces much larger ASCII TLD strings than previously seen, the issue of DNS response packet size that also plague DNSSEC and IPv6 rollout in the root seems also to have gone by the wayside.

Why wouldn’t these potential impacts to the root, which given ICANNs actions seemingly only extend to the new gTLD Process, be raised with respect to the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process?

•    Economic Analysis

This is centred on the evidence of demonstrated demand for new gTLDs. The voices of potential applicants and entrepreneurs seem to be muted unless a credible economic study has been produced. However, where does such a study or studies exist for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process? Let’s be clear, I am not arguing that there isn’t demand but where has it been documented just as has been required in the new gTLD process?

•    Trademark Protections

To me, the issue of Trademark Protections is somewhat being fought at the second level as ICANN staff seem to have built in decent and clearly identifiable protections for Trademark holders at the top level. If this is true then where are all the trademark lobby groups with respect to IDN ccTLDs? In fact, the issue is made worse by the minimalist approach to the Contracts that are signed between IDN ccTLD Registry Operators and ICANN. Essentially each IDN ccTLD Registry Operator is free to operate their domain name space as they see fit. Where is the trademark protection for trademark holders in this process? Why is this a non-issue for the GAC and ICANN Board in the IDN ccTLD Process, yet a significant issue worthy of retarding the new gTLD Process? Staggering!

There are a number of other issues that seem to have been simply ignored while we all got caught up in the romantic plight of a non-ASCII internet using public. Let’s remember each IDN ccTLD is free to allocate geographic second level names yet the GAC has now requested a veto right for second level registrations in gTLDs. I am not sure I understand the difference.

Once again, let’s be clear. I totally support the IDN ccTLD Fast Track and I, too, am enthused by the opportunities it affords the ‘non ASCII’ internet using public. However, I am gravely concerned by the outrageous double standard that has been applied by the GAC and ICANN Board to these parallel processes with undeniably identical issues and impacts.

If they aren’t important enough to be required at the loosely (if at all) ICANN regulated  ccTLD level then let’s clear the way and get on with the opening up of applications for new gTLDs. Let’s hope a standing ovation and an exuberant GAC chair awaits an ICANN Meeting soon when the gTLD Application process is finally ratified by the ICANN Board.

ICANN opens applications for IDN ccTLD Fast Track Program

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Jon Lawrence

In an unprecedented move to truly open up the internet to a global audience, ICANN has today opened the application process for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Program. Organisations representing countries that use non-latin scripts can now apply to ICANN to have their full country name, an abbreviation or other representation of their country name delegated as a Top Level Domain using their native script.

This program is an historic step forward in terms of inclusiveness for those countries that use non-latin scripts and will be a crucial step towards the bridging of the digital divide in these countries.

Given AusRegistry International’s unique position of having a fully functional, purpose built Domain Name Registry System based on the IDNA 2008 protocol, we are excited about the opportunity to work with our existing clients on their IDN ccTLD Fast Track applications. We also look forward to the opportunity of assisting other potential IDN ccTLD Managers with a range of Consultancy and Technical services that are designed to assist with all aspects of the application and implementation process.

Please Contact Us for more information about how AusRegistry International can assist with IDN ccTLD Fast Track applications.

For more information about the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Program, please see ICANN’s IDN ccTLD Fast Track page.

APTLD calls on ICANN to finalise IDN ccTLD Fast Track process

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

By Jon Lawrence

Jonathan Shea, the Chair of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD) has written to Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the ICANN Board, urging that the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Implementation Plan be ‘finalised and approved with no more delay’.

Shea’s letter, dated 31st August, addresses the three issues that are of primary concern to much of the ccTLD community:

– he repeats earlier calls from both the ccNSO and GAC that, due to the non-profit nature of many ccTLD registries, the proposed fees should not be mandatory;
– similarly, he urges that formal agreements between ICANN and IDN ccTLD Managers should be voluntary, and;
– he demands that IDN variant strings must be delegated to the same IDN ccTLD Manager, who should have ‘the prerogative to deploy both the normal and variant strings to meet the needs of the local community’.

AusRegistry International is an Associate member of APTLD and we support the Association’s call for the IDN Fast Track Program to be finalised as soon as possible.

As reported in our review of the recent APTLD meeting, we understand that ICANN staff are working towards having the Implementation Plan ready for a Board vote at the next ICANN meeting in Seoul, in late October.

We, along with our clients in the ccTLD community, very much hope that the Implementation Plan will be ready for the Seoul meeting and that the Board will approve it.

See APTLD’s letter to ICANN (pdf).

Talking domains in Slovenia

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

By Jon Lawrence

Earlier this week, I attended the “2nd International Conference for ccTLD Registries and Registrars of CIS, Central and Eastern Europe”, which, despite its rather cumbersome title, was a rewarding and productive conference.

The conference was very well organised by the Coordination Center for TLD .RU (the .RU Registry) along with local hosts, ARNES (the.SI Registry) and ISOC-SI and was held in the beautiful lakeside town of Bled in Slovenia. Over 50 attendees came primarily from across the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States – the states of the former Soviet Union), as well as from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. On the Tuesday night, we enjoyed dinner at Bled Castle, with wonderful views over the lake.

Lake Bled and Bled Castle
Lake Bled

I participated in the Marketing panel with a presentation on Marketing Strategies for your ccTLD and the importance of your sales channel, which was well received.

Other panels covered topics including:
• IDNs
• Internet Governance
• The secondary market
• Legal issues
• Relations with government and other stakeholders
• DNS Reliability

It was very interesting to hear some very different perspectives, especially from those countries that, primarily for political reasons, are not actively involved in the ICANN community. In most cases, this lack of involvement stems from mistrust of the US government in its role as ICANN’s ultimate overseer. ICANN staff attempted to allay some of the concerns arising from this, especially the widely held belief (evident in this and in other regions) that joining the ccNSO requires a ccTLD manager to sign a contract with ICANN, which is not in fact the case.

On the IDN front, representatives of the .RU (Russia) and .BG (Bulgaria) Registries presented their well advanced plans for the IDN ccTLDs that they intend to submit to ICANN as part of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track program.

Russia will be submitting:
RF
(RF in Cyrillic characters, to represent the Russian Federation)

Bulgaria will be submitting:
BG
(the equivalent of BG in Cyrillic characters).

Both registries are ready to implement these new TLDs should the ICANN Board give the go-ahead at their next meeting in Seoul, next month.

The conference also provided an opportunity to meet with a number of ccTLD Managers from around the region, and we look forward to building long-term relationships with these new friends in the future.

For more information, see the meeting website.

IDN ccTLD Fast Track update

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

By Jon Lawrence

The introduction of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) as Top Level Domains is one of the most significant developments in the short history of the internet and represents a fundamental improvement in user experience for the billions of people worldwide whose native languages use non-Latin character sets.

As part of its public consultation process, ICANN has just released a (third) revised version of the Draft Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. This program has been designed by ICANN to allow the rapid introduction of a small number of IDN country-code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), in advance of the resolution of the outstanding policy and technical issues.

A public comment period will now run through the next ICANN Meeting in Sydney (21st to 26th June) until the 15th July 2009.  The aim is to finalise the Fast Track process by the ICANN meeting in Seoul in October 2009, with the first IDN ccTLD set to be implemented soon after that.

This version of the Draft Implementation Plan is the last draft to be issued and many of the issues from previous drafts are now considered resolved, based on feedback from the ICANN community.  Additionally, supporting documents on the following topics have been published to inform participants about the outstanding issues:
•    Definition of the relationship between ICANN and IDN ccTLD managers
•    Proposed financial contributions (to ICANN) from IDN ccTLD managers
•    The process for handling contention issues with existing TLDs and new gTLD applications
•    The development and usage of IDN tables and character variants

We strongly support the Fast Track process and are generally pleased with the progress that has been made to this point.  There is a great deal of technical and policy complexity involved in the issue and ICANN have been carefully negotiating all of the hurdles in front of them.  For example, character variants which form just a part of the process are likely to be a headache for ccTLD managers wishing to implement an IDN ccTLD.

Our development team have just finalised the upgrades to our Registry Systems to support IDN ccTLDs, working initially with our clients in the United Arab Emirates to provide an Arabic ccTLD.  The team came up with some innovative solutions that provide the high levels of flexibility and configurability needed to manage the significant policy complexities with IDNs, without sacrificing on our high system performance standards.

We look forward to watching the ongoing development of IDNs and working with our clients around the world to help them deliver world class Registry Services.

Please see our IDN page for more information about our IDN capabilities, or Contact Us to enquire about how we can assist you with your TLD.

For more detail and to review the Draft Implementation Plan and supporting documentation, please see ICANN’s announcement.

See also the Fast Track webpage.