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Monday, October 15, 2007

What's in a domain name?

The Globe and Mail is reporting about the intentions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to launch 11 test sites today in languages that don't use the Roman alphabet. "Until now, addresses on the World Wide Web used Roman alphabet-based suffixes – .com, .org or .net – even if the rest of the domain name appeared in a language such as Japanese, Russian or Arabic." The move makes sense for those in countries that don't use the Roman alphabet but is it a decision based on pure motives or is it a chance to sell more domain names?

“If I don't do it, and somebody else does it, people will be misguided,” Vadim Sloutsky of, said.

“It forces me as a business owner to go out and book that domain and pay that additional money for that domain name.”

Failing to secure his domain name with Russian Cyrillic letters would open the door for squatters to set up a competing site that could leach traffic from his site. It's always been a bit like the wild west out there, looks like another gold rush might be looming.