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ICANN Announces Delegation of First New gTLDs - Chinese, Russian, Arabic International Domains
ICANN Announces Delegation of First New gTLDs
Robyn Norgan
Oct 24, 2013 • 3 min read

Yesterday, ICANN announced that the first new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) have been delegated. What this means is that the new domain extensions have been introduced to the Internet's Root Zone, bringing them another step closer to being available to the public. Although there are still things that need to be done on the registry side, I anticipate these domains to be available in early 2014.

The four new domain extension strings are all international, meaning they use non-Latin characters:

شبكة (xn--ngbc5azd) is Arabic for "web or network"

онлайн (xn--80asehdb) is Cyrillic for "online"

сайт (xn--80aswg) is Cyrillic for "site"

游戏 (xn--unup4y) is Chinese for "game(s)"

This is exciting because up until 2010 there were no non-Latin domain extensions. Since then, there have been ten international domain extensions introduced including three Arabic strings, one Cyrillic string, five Chinese strings, and, just this year, one Ukrainian string. Adding these international domain extensions are an important step in the globalization of the Internet.

Personally, I am most excited about the addition of international domain extensions. If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to type in a web address in Latin characters to visit a website that is in your native language of Arabic or Chinese. Internationalized domain names (IDNs) seemed to be a good solution to this, and they are an important step, but you are still typing in Latin characters after the dot. With the addition of these international domain extensions there will be more options for a large percentage of Internet users whose native language is not based on the Latin alphabet.

Although I can't say which international domain extensions will become "the next .COM" for their language, I can say that adding more of them is a step in the right direction. What do you think? Are you excited to be able to use a web address entirely in your language? Share your opinions in the comments below.

See ICANN's official press release on the delegation for more information. And by the way, if you're looking to register a domain on an international domain extension right now, we do offer the Chinese .中国 and we hope to add more in the future.

Post by Robyn Norgan