The following is a guest post by Don Hollander, Secretary General of ICANN’s Universal Acceptance Steering Group. Don Hollander is a New Zealand based former CIO for large domestic and international corporations.
Since 2010 the Domain Name System (DNS) has expanded dramatically, not only fueling competition, choice and innovation, but truly enabling a multi-lingual Internet. There are now more than a 1,500 top-level domains (TLDs), many of which are longer than the traditional two- and three-character (e.g. .com, .edu, .nz, and .org) or are in non-ASCII based scripts – such as Arabic, Cyrillic, and Thai.
The expansion allows people to claim a domain name that best reflects their sense of identity. While this expansion is critical in bringing the next billion people online and growing the global Internet economy, the incorporation of these new domains across the global Internet is not an automatic process. CIOs, web administrators, application developers, ISPs, Hosting Providers and others have an important role to play in making sure their applications are compatible with the evolved Internet namespace. As an i2Coalition member or reader, we want to ensure you’re aware of these changes.
The Issue At Hand
Many organizations and business have not updated their systems to accommodate the new domains. This is called becoming Universal Acceptance or UA ready. As a result, many applications and Internet-connected devices and systems are unable to accept, validate, store, process or display all domain names, causing headaches for users and organizations alike. Applications that do not recognize and appropriately process new domain names and email addresses using these extensions will be burdened by reports of poor user experience and a loss of customers.
Resources available to assist you
To address these issues and provide support, stakeholders and industry leaders such as Apple, GoDaddy, Google, the i2Coalition, ICANN, Microsoft, Verisign, and others, created the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG). The UASG exists to help organizations ensure their systems are UA-ready and able to accept all domain names and email addresses in any valid script.
The UASG has developed helpful guides and resources which are available at https://uasg.tech/documents. Of particular note is the Quick Guide to Universal Acceptance (UASG005), which is available in multiple languages. Also available is the Introduction to Universal Acceptance (UASG 007), a comprehensive technical document on Universal Acceptance and the key issues that developers and system architects need to know.
We encourage you to visit our website and view these useful materials and to get involved with the UASG (you can join the mailing list at https://uasg.tech/subscribe) so we can work together to fully incorporate these new domains for the benefit of the next generation of Internet users.