The world’s most-popular web browsers are still failing to recognize new top-level domains, many months after they go live on the internet.
The version of the Safari browser that ships with the Mountain Lion iteration of Apple’s OS X appears to have even gone backwards, removing support for at least one TLD.
The most recent versions of Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer also both fail to recognize at least two of the internet’s most recently added TLDs.
According to informal tests on multiple computers this week, Safari 6 on Mountain Lion and the Windows 7 versions of Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome v24 all don’t understand .post and .cw addresses.
Remarkably, it appears that Safari 6 also no longer supports .sx domains, despite the fact that version 5 does.
Typing affected domain names into the address bars of these browsers will result in surfers being taken to a search page (usually Google) instead of their intended destination.
If you want to test your own browser, registry.sx, una.cw and ems.post are all valid, resolving domain names you can try.
The ccTLDs .sx and .cw are for Sint Maarten (Dutch part) and Curacao respectively, two of three countries formed by the breakup of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.
Safari v5 on Windows and OS X recognizes .sx as a TLD, but v6 on Mountain Lion does not.
The problems faced by .post and .cw on Chrome appear to be mostly due to the fact that neither TLD is included on the Public Suffix List, which Google uses to figure out what a TLD looks like.
A few days after we reported last May that .sx didn’t work on Chrome, SX Registry submitted its details to the PSL, which appears to have solved its problems with that browser.
It’s not at all clear to me why .sx is borked on newer versions of Safari but not the older ones.
If the problem sounds trivial, believe me: it’s not.
The blurring of the lines between search and direct navigation is one of the biggest threats to the long-term relevance of domain names, so it’s vital to the industry’s interests that the problem of universal acceptance is sorted out sooner rather than later.
ICANN is set to approve two new country-code top-level domains next week – .cw and .sx – for the year-old nations of Curacao and Sint Maarten.
The two countries were created when the Netherlands Antilles split last October.
The ICANN board of directors plans to rubber-stamp the delegations of both ccTLDs next Tuesday, according to the consent agenda for its meeting.
It also plans to vote on the “transition” arrangements for the Netherlands Antilles’ .an, which is now a ccTLD without a country.
The .an space won’t be the first TLD to be deprecated. Yugoslavia’s .yu disappeared in March last year, for example, a few years after Serbia and Montenegro acquired their own ccTLDs.
OpenRegistry CEO Jean-Christophe Vignes said that if ICANN votes for the delegation the company will start talks with potential registrar partners at the ICANN Dakar meeting later this month.
MediaFusion and Vignes’ alma mater EuroDNS have already been approved to act as .sx registrars.
The company plans to use CHIP, the ClearingHouse for Intellectual Property, for its sunrise period.
Anyone with a .an registration predating December 2010 will be able to request the equivalent .sx name under a grandfathering program the company plans to launch.
It will be the first TLD that OpenRegistry has provided the back-end infrastructure for.
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.