VeriSign, operator of the ubiquitous .com space, have announced the delegation of eleven new internationalised versions of their .com and .net generic top level domain names.
The new spaces are part of the ongoing new gTLD process being rolled out by ICANN and will allow web users to type domain names in their native languages. Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs, have been live for some time but, aside from a few exceptions, users have been limited to typing in their native language to the left of the dot, while using English ASCII text to the right.
So once the new domain spaces go live, instead of a Hindi-speaker having to type वेबसाइट.com in two languages they will now be able to type वेबसाइट.कॉम in one.
The new spaces being rolled out by VeriSign will include:
- .कॉम (.com) and .नेट (.net) in Hindi
- .点看 (.com) and .大拿 (.net) in Chinese
- .닷컴 (.com) and .닷넷 (.net) in Korean
- .คอม (.com) in Thai.コム (.com) in Japanese
- .كوم (.com) in Arabic
- .קום (.com) in Hebrew
- .ком (.com) in Russian
VeriSign had attempted to ensure that users with existing IDNs in the old .com TLD would be able to reserve, or grandfather, their domains in the new spaces. To use the example above, VeriSign wanted to ensure that the registrant of वेबसाइट.com would receive an automatic right to register वेबसाइट.कॉम.
However, ICANN would not allow VeriSign’s new spaces to bypass the Trademark Clearinghouse process mandated for every new gTLD launch. Trade mark holders will therefore have the right to register domain names corresponding to their marks in the new spaces before existing IDN registrants.
VeriSign hasn’t yet announced how the new spaces will be launched and it remains to be seen if they will allow a post-sunrise period which would give existing IDN registrants a chance at registration after trade mark holders have secured their domain names.