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.xxx reveals new gTLD support problems

Kevin Murphy, August 5, 2011, 09:25:21 (UTC), Domain Tech

It’s late 2012. You’ve spent your $185,000, fought your way through objections, won your contention set, and proved to ICANN that you’re technically and financially capable of running a new generic top-level domain.

The registry contracts have been signed. But will your gTLD actually work?

The experiences of .xxx manager ICM Registry lately suggest that a certain amount of outreach will be needed before new gTLDs receive universal support in applications.

I’ve encountered three examples over the last few days of .xxx domain names not functioning as expected in certain apps. I expect there will be many more.

Skype. Type http://casting.com into a chat window and Skype will automatically make the link clickable. Do the same for the .xxx equivalent, and it does not.

Android, the Google mobile platform. I haven’t tested this, but according to Francesco Cetaro on Twitter, unless you manually type the http:// the domain doesn’t resolve.

TweetDeck, now owned by Twitter. It doesn’t auto-link or auto-shorten .xxx domains either, not even if you include the http:// prefix.

This problem is well known from previous new gTLD rounds. ICANN even warns applicants about it in the Applicant Guidebook, stating:

All applicants should be aware that approval of an application and entry into a registry agreement with ICANN do not guarantee that a new gTLD will immediately function throughout the Internet. Past experience indicates that network operators may not immediately fully support new top-level domains, even when these domains have been delegated in the DNS root zone, since third-party software modification may be required and may not happen immediately.

Similarly, software applications sometimes attempt to validate domain names and may not recognize new or unknown top-level domains.

As a 10-year .info registrant, I can confirm that some web sites will still sometimes reject email addresses at .info domains.

Sometimes this is due to outdated validation scripts assuming no TLD is longer than three characters. Sometimes, it’s because the webmaster sees so much spam from .info he bans the whole TLD.

This is far less of an issue that it was five or six years ago, due in part to Afilias’s outreach, but just this week I found myself unable to sign up at a certain phpBB forum using my .info address.

I understand ICM has also been reaching out to affected app developers recently to make them aware that .xxx now exists in the root and has resolvable domains.

ICANN also has released code in C#, Java, Perl, and Python (though not, annoyingly, PHP) that it says can be easily dropped into source in order to validate TLDs against the live root.

The last beta was released in 2007. I’m not sure whether it’s still under development.

(UPDATE: CentralNic CTO Gavin Brown has knocked up a PHP implementation here.)

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Comments (9)

  1. Francesco says:

    Just to be clear (which on twitter can be difficult at time), normally I can just write http://www.domainincite.com in my android browser and it will lead me to this site. However, if I write http://www.icm.xxx it takes me to a Google search results page based on “www icm xxx” as keywords.
    I guess following a link in an email or from a twitter client that doesn’t try to be too smart (like twitter.com or dabr.co.uk) would work as well, as those include http:// .

    So the problem is really limited to direct navigation (with this I don’t mean to minimize the problem, just put it into context a bit better :))

  2. Francesco says:

    ok… your oversmart blog changed my www. domainincite . com example into a clickable link including http in the front 😛

  3. Gavin Brown says:

    Here’s an implementation of ICANN’s TLD Verification Code for PHP:

    https://github.com/jodrell/uniaccept-php

    Enjoy.

  4. Loads of software developers use the Public Suffix List for their authoritative list of what TLDs are.

    http://www.publicsuffix.org

    It goes into the subdomain combinations under some gTLDs and ccTLDs (ie it lists co.uk, net.uk, org.uk)

    Still, there is nothing mandatory about its use.

  5. Michele says:

    Safari on the iPhone works fine with .xxx.
    It also supported the pure IDNs without translating them back to punycode before Firefox did ..

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