ICANN is set to approve 11 new internationalized domain name ccTLDs, representing four nations in Asia and the Middle East, at its board meeting next week.
On the January 25 consent agenda – which is typically rubber-stamped without discussion – is the approval of IDN ccTLDs for South Korea, India, Singapore and Syria.
Korea is due to get .한국, Singapore gets . 新加坡 (Chinese) and .சிங்கப்பூர் (Tamil), while Syria gets the Arabic string .سورية.
Massively polyglot India will be delegated its ccTLD in seven of its most-popular languages.
This week, the ccTLD for Thailand went live with Thai-language registrations under .ไทย. You can watch a video of ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom congratulating the nation here.
Also on ICANN’s agenda next week is the re-delegation of the ASCII ccTLDs for Burkina Faso, Congo and Syria – .bf, .cd and .sy respectively – to new registry managers.
IANA quietly created three new country-code top-level domains shortly before Christmas, to represent the new nations created by the breakup of the Netherlands Antilles last year.
None of the strings are currently delegated. The governments of the respective nations will have to apply to IANA if they want to start using their TLDs on the internet.
The days of chancers moving in to colonize island ccTLDs (eg .nu) may have passed, but there are still opportunities for domain name businesses to make a buck here.
The most recent new ccTLD, .me, was assigned to Montenegro in 2007. The registry’s partners include Go Daddy and Afilias.
I’m sure overseas domain name companies are already sniffing around the newly minted countries.
But these nations are small, and they don’t seem to have lucked out by being assigned strings with much secondary semantic value, so I can’t imagine we’re looking at high-volume TLDs.
Sint Maarten’s .sx may be an exception, due to its resemblance to “.sex”, which is quite likely, I think, to be created as a gTLD under ICANN’s upcoming new TLDs program.
If and when .sx is delegated, the country will have to bear this potential for confusion in mind when it’s designing its registration policies.
Will it want to keep its national brand respectable, or will it cash in on possible future typosquatting?
The Netherlands Antilles officially split in October. It took about three months for the three strings to be added to the ISO 3166 list (pdf), and another week for IANA to add the ccTLDs to its database.
The string AN, for the dissolved country, has also been deleted from the 3166 list. What happens to .an the ccTLD is a whole other story.
A Bulgarian domain name association has had its request for information about ICANN’s rejection of the domain .бг itself rejected.
As I blogged last month, Uninet had filed a Documentary Information Disclosure Policy request with ICANN, asking it to publish its reasons for rejecting the Cyrillic ccTLD.
The organization wants to run .бг, which is broadly supported in Bulgaria, despite the fact that ICANN has found it would be confusingly similar to Brazil’s .br.
Uninet believes it needs more information about why the string was rejected, in advance of a planned appeal of its rejection under the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process.
But the group has now heard that its request “falls under multiple Defined Conditions of Nondisclosure set forth in the DIDP” because it covers internal communications and “trade secrets”, among other things.
ICANN’s response suggests instead that Uninet contact the Bulgarian government for the information.
I’m told that Uninet may now file a Reconsideration Request in order to get the data it needs, although I suspect that’s probably optimistic.
Tina Dam, senior director of internationalized domain names at ICANN, has quit.
The news appears to have been broken on Twitter by Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry, which does quite a bit of work with IDNs in the middle-east.
It’s my understanding that Dam may have actually resigned almost a month ago, during ICANN’s meeting in Cartagena.
Her move comes at an awkward time for ICANN, which is in the middle of revamping its IDN ccTLD Fast Track program, which Dam headed.
Dam has been with ICANN for many years, and is widely well-regarded by the community.
Overseeing the IDN program is a highly specialized and, one imagines, quite stressful position. Finding a qualified replacement will not be trivial.
Her name is added to the list of senior ICANN staffers to either quit or get fired over the last year, which currently numbers at least half a dozen.
.CO Internet has started allowing registrars to offer Whois privacy services for .co domains, according to Go Daddy.
In a blog post, Go Daddy’s “RachelH”, wrote:
When the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and .CO Internet S.A.S. drafted the .co policy earlier this year, they decided to hold off on private registration to prevent wrongful use of the new ccTLD — especially during the landrush. Now that .co has carved its place among popular TLDs, you can add private registration to your .co domain names.
Unless I’m mistaken, ICANN had no involvement in the creation of .co’s policies, but I don’t think that’s relevant to the news that .co domains can now be made private.
During its first several months, .CO Internet has been quite careful about appearing respectable, which is why its domains are relatively expensive, why its trademark protections were fairly stringent at launch, and why it has created new domain takedown policies.
It may be a sign that the company feels confident that its brand is fairly well-established now that it has decided to allow Whois privacy, which is quite often associated with cybersquatting (at least in some parts of the domain name community).
It could of course also be a sign that it wants to give its registrars some love – by my estimates a private registration would likely double their gross margin on a .co registration.