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Internet could get one-letter gTLDs (but there’s a catch)

Kevin Murphy, March 21, 2024, 15:24:25 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN is set to loosen up its restrictions on single-character gTLDs in the 2026 application round, according to draft Applicant Guidebook language.

But the exemption to the usual rule applies only to gTLDs written in one script — Han, which is used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Applied-for Latin-script strings must be three characters and over (because two-letter strings are reserved for ccTLDs) and internationalized domain names in other, non-Han scripts have a minimum of two characters.

The exemption for Han is being put in place because it’s an ideographic script, where a single character can have a meaning that other, alphabetic scripts would require an entire string to express. Google tells me the Chinese for “water” is 水, for example.

The 2012 gTLD application round did not feature the Han carve-out, and no IDN gTLDs currently in the DNS have fewer than two characters.

The draft rules governing IDNs are expected to be part of the next batch of AGB components that ICANN releases for public comment. The comment period on the first batch ended this week with no particularly controversial issues emerging.

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Comments (1)

  1. Anthony Mitchell says:

    Mao wanted to abolish character scripts and shift to a Romanized system for writting Chinese. He justified this by saying that it takes too long to learn enough characters for someone to become proficient, and that Romanizing Chinese would boost the economy over the long term.

    Hepburn romanization is an obvious candidate for romanizing both Mandarin and Cantonese. Hepburn was popularized for transcribing Japanese, but works well for Chinese too. It’s easy to understand.

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