A lot of people have noticed since the first four new gTLDs were delegated yesterday that Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t seem to handle internationalized domain names.
In fact it does, but if you’re an English-speaking user you’ll probably need to make a few small configuration changes, which should take less than a minute, to make it work.
As far as the DNS is concerned, these are the same URLs. They’re just displayed differently by Chrome, depending on your browser’s display languages settings.
If you want to see the Cyrillic version in your address bar, simply:
- Go to the Chrome Settings menu via the toolbar menu or by typing chrome://settings into the address bar.
- Click the “Language and input settings” button. It’s in the Advanced options bit, which may be hidden at first. Scroll all the way down to unhide.
- Click the Add button to add the languages you want to support in the address bar.
Right now, you can see all three active IDN gTLDs in their intended scripts by adding Arabic, Chinese (Simplified Han) and Russian. As gTLDs in other scripts are added, you’ll need to add those too.
Thanks to DNS jack o’ all trades Jothan Frakes for telling me how to do this.
Google has signed its first Registry Agreement with ICANN, covering the new gTLD .みんな.
The string means “everyone” in Japanese. It had priority number 34.
Google proposes to use it as an open TLD, available for anyone to register names in.
Signed by Google subsidiary Charleston Road Registry, it’s the 34th new gTLD contract ICANN has executed.
Google has 96 new gTLD applications remaining. One of them, for .search, is still Initial Evaluation.
The International Chamber of Commerce has delivered the first three Community Objection decisions in the new gTLD program, killing off one application and saving two others.
These are the results:
The objection filed by Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, a gay political organization, against DotGay LLC has failed.
The panelist, Bernhard Schlink, decided that Metrolplex lacked standing to file the objection, stating:
while the conservative segment, with which Metroplex claims association, is a segment of the clearly delineated gay community, it is not a clearly delineated community in and of itself. That some LGBTQ people hold conservative political views and vote for conservative candidates may bring them into a statistical category, but does not make them connect, gather, interact, or do anything else together that would constitute a community, or, that would make them publicly visible as one.
It was the only objection against this .gay application, meaning it can now proceed to later stages of the new gTLD process.
The objection was filed by FairSearch.org, a coalition of companies that campaigns against Google’s dominance of online markets, against Google’s .fly application.
The application was originally for a “closed generic” registry, but Google has since stated that it has changed its mind and run .fly with an open registration policy.
FairSearch lost the objection, despite ICC panelist George Bermann giving it the benefit of the doubt multiple times during his discussion on its standing to object.
Instead, Google prevailed due to FairSearch’s failure to demonstrate enough opposition to its application, with Bermann writing:
A showing of substantial opposition to an application is critical to a successful Objection. Such a showing is absent here.
He also decided that Google presented a better case when it came to arguing whether or not its .fly would be damaging to the community in question.
Finally, Donuts has lost its application for .architect, due to an objection by the International Union of Architects, which supports Starting Dot’s competing application for .archi.
Donuts had argued that UIA did not have standing to object because an “architect” does not always mean the kind of architect that designs buildings, which is the community the UIA represents. It could mean a software architect or landscape architects, for example.
But panelist Andreas Reiner found that even if the UIA represents a subset of the overall “architect” community, that subset was still substantial enough, still a community, and still represented by the string “architect”, so that it did have the standing to use the Community Objection.
It also did not matter that the UIA does not represent all the “structural architects” in the world, the panelist found. It represents enough of them that its opposition to .architect passes the “substantial” test.
He eventually took the word “architect” in its most common use — people who design buildings — in determining whether the UIA was closely associated with the community in question.
On the question of whether architects would be harmed by Donuts’ plan for .architect, the panelist noted that architects are always licensed for public safety reasons.
Here are some extracts from his decision, which seem important:
Beyond concerns of public safety, habitat for human beings is of essential importance in society, at the human-social level, at the economic level and at the environmental level
it would be compatible with the above references public interests linked to the work of architects and with the related consumer protection concerns, to allow the domain name “.architect” to be used by anyone other than “architects” who, by definition, need to be licensed
The use of the top-level domain “.architect” by non-licenced architects is in itself an abuse. This top-level domain refers to a regulated professional service. Therefore all safeguards must be adopted to prevent its use by a non-licensed person.
The top-level domain “.architect” raises the legitimate expectation that the related website is the webiste of a licensed architect (or a group of licenced architects). Correct information is essential to consumers visiting websites.
Basically, Reiner trashed Donuts long-standing argument in favor of blanket open registration policies.
He noted specifically that whether to allow a gTLD to proceed might be considered a free speech question, but said that free speech often has its limits, such as in cases of consumer protection.
Worryingly, one of the pieces of evidence that the panelist considered was the Governmental Advisory Committee’s Beijing communique, which contains the GAC’s formal advice against over 500 applications.
New gTLDs are set to be added to the widely used Public Suffix List within a month of signing an ICANN registry agreement, according to PSL volunteer Jothan Frakes.
This is pretty good news for new gTLD registries.
The PSL, maintained by volunteers under the Mozilla banner, is used in browsers including Firefox and Chrome, and will be a vital part of making sure new gTLDs “work” out of the box.
If a TLD doesn’t have an entry on the PSL, browsers tend to handle them badly.
For example, after .sx launched last year, Google’s Chrome browser returned search results instead of the intended web site when .sx domain names were typed into the address/search bar.
It also provides a critical security function, telling browsers at which level they should allow domains to set cookies.
According to Frakes, who has been working behind the scenes with other PSL volunteers and ICANN staff to get this process working, new gTLDs will usually hit the PSL within 30 days of an ICANN contract.
Due to the mandatory pre-delegation testing period, new gTLDs should be on the PSL before or at roughly the same time as they are delegated, with plenty of time to spare before they launch.
The process of being added to the PSL should be fairly quick for TLDs that intend to run flat second-level spaces, according to Frakes, but may be more complex if they plan to do something less standard, such as selling third-level domains, for example.
Browser makers may take some time to update their own lists with the PSL updates. Google, with its own huge portfolio of applications, will presumably be incentivized to stay on the ball.
Google has won a String Confusion Objection against rival new gTLD applicant Donuts, potentially forcing .pet and .pets into the same contention set.
The shock ruling by International Centre for Dispute Resolution panelist Richard Page goes against previous decisions finding singulars and plurals not confusingly similar.
In the 11-page decision, Page said he decided to not consider the reams of UDRP precedent or US trademark law submitted by the two companies, and seems to have come to his opinion based on a few simple facts:
Objector has come forward with the following evidence for visual, aural and meaning similarity. Visually, the words are identical but for the mere addition of the letter “s”. Aurally, the word “pets” is essentially phonetically equivalent to the word “pet”. The term “pet” is pronounced as it is spelled, “pet”. The term “pets” is likewise pronounced as “pets” in essentially a phonetically equivalent fashion. The terms each have only one syllable, and they have the same stress pattern, with primary accent on the initial “pe” portion of the words. In commercial meaning, the terms show no material difference. As English nouns, “pets” is the pluralization of “pet”.
The visual similarity and algorithmic score are high, the aural similarity is high, the meaning similarity is high. Objector has met its burden of proof. The cumulative impact of these factors is such that the Expert determines that the delegation of <.pet> gTLD and the <.pets> gTLD into the root zone will cause a probability of confusion.
Page did take into account the similarity score provided by the Sword algorithm — for .pet and .pets it’s actually a fairly weak 72% — in his thinking on visual similarity.
But he specifically rejected Donuts’ defense that co-existence of plurals at the second level was proof that plural/singular gTLDs could also co-exist at the top-level, saying:
The rapid historical development of the Internet and the proliferation of domain names over the past two decades has taken place without the application of the string confusion standard now established for gTLDs. Therefore, the Expert has not considered the current coexistence of pluralized second-level TLDs or similarities between country code TLDs and existing gTLDs in the application of the string confusion standard in this proceeding.
Can: open. Worms: everywhere.
The decision stands in stark contrast to the decision (pdf) of Bruce Belding in the .hotel v .hotels case, in which it was found that the two strings were “sufficiently visually and audibly different”.
Likewise, the panelist in .car v .cars (pdf) found that Google had not met the high evidential bar to proving the “probability” rather than mere “possibility” of confusion.
One has to assume that the evidence Google submitted in .car is fairly similar to the evidence it submitted in .pets.
Are String Confusion Objections just a crap shoot, the outcome depending on which panelist you get? It’s probably too early to say for sure, but it’s looking like a possibility.
The big test will come with the next .pets decision. Afilias, the other .pet applicant, has also filed an SCO against Donuts over its .pets bid.
What if the panel in the Afilias case goes the other way? Will Donuts be in a contention set with Google and Afilias or won’t it?
I asked Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Generic Domains Division, about this yesterday and he said that ICANN basically doesn’t know, and that it might have to refer back to the community for advice.