Nominet, the .uk domain name registry, is inviting views on the implementation and use of internationalised domain names (IDNs).
Domain names worldwide are currently limited to using the letters a-z, digits 0-9 and hyphens. It currently excludes the use of accented letters and other character sets or symbols.
This potentially leads to difficulties in creating local domain names in Asian or Eastern European languages, where symbols are frequently used.
The IDN alternative has the potential to accommodate many more writing systems.
Nominet says pro-IDN arguments question why online businesses should be prevented from selecting localised domain names, particularly if the organisation is targeting a market whose first language may not be English.
Although the internet is a global resource, English remains the first language of business worldwide and the language that most computers are equipped to handle, according to Nominet.
However, opening up the domain name system to more symbols and permutations of names also dramatically increases the opportunity for typo-squatting (registering domain names to take advantage of spelling errors by users) and cyber-squatting (registering domain names that others might want, with a view to profiting from them).
Nominet is inviting feedback on its IDN consultation paper at:
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