I just got back this morning from attending the OASIS XRI TC face-to-face meeting in San Diego with Bill Barnhill, Drummond Reed, Laurie Rae, Les Chasen, Markus Sabadello, and Marty Schleiff. A number of good things came out of the meeting, which I’ll leave for another blog because this post is about Internationalized Domain Names, not XRI.
So we just opened the flood gates for Chinese and Japanese IDNs for .BIZ. This has been my brainchild for the past half a year or so, and represents a significant step forward for our registry in terms of internationalization. As one might expect, no support for Chinese IDN is complete without bundling as specified in the JET guidelines and RFC4713.
The tricky part to supporting both Chinese and Japanese IDN within a single registry is that the two languages share a large repertoire of Han characters. While the concept of Simplified and Traditional Chinese is well-understood within the Chinese communities, Japanese generally do not use variants the same way. Two characters that may be considered variants by a Chinese user may be seen as distinct characters with different semantics from the Japanese’ point of view. To implement a registry that respects the culture and expectations of both language communities while offering a high degree of protection against homographic attack is a juggling act in itself. I dare say that NeuStar is the first unsponsored gTLD registry that Got It Right ™.
So, how does it work? Well, suppose you registered 電車.biz with the Chinese language tag, you will automatically get the simplified version of the domain, 电车.biz, placed into the DNS for you. No one can register any combination of variants of the domain, e.g. 电車.biz and 電车.biz.
What if you registered a mixed version 電车.biz, also with the Chinese tag? Well, you get that PLUS 電車.biz (traditional) and 电车.biz (simplified) giving you 3 domains in total! That is because we respect the registrant’s request, even if it looks like a mixed- traditional and simplified string. Whatever you asked for, if it doesn’t clash with another registered domain, will always be given to you.
If, however, the Japanese tag was used to register 電車.biz, that would be the only domain that you’d get. Once that is registered, other variations of the domain name in Chinese will not be allowed to register. This is a slight deviation from JPRS‘s appraoch, which treats them as distinct domains. We feel that this conservative approach offers better protection for the registrant.
So that was the skinny on our Chinese and Japanese Internationalized Domain Names offering. Is it me or do Han characters look very good with .BIZ? =)
Usual disclaimer about this being my personal opinion applies.