On May 5, 2010, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has finalized the application process to allow non-Latin characters domain names. Arabic-speaking countries are the first to reap the orthographic benefits. As of today, we can start seeing domain names ending in:
.YOyµy± (previously was only .eg for Egypt)
.y?YNy?y?YayOYay© (previously was only .sa for Saudi Arabia)
. y?YOy?y±y?y™ (previously was only .ae for United Arab Emirates)
The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, with the old domain name http://www.mcit.gov.eg, is now transitioning to the new URL: Yay?y?y±y©-y?YNy?y™yµy?YNy?y™.YOyµy±.
Not everything is fully operational with the new system yet. Browsers that are not caught up to speed on the non-Latin characters domain names will still see the url addresses rendered as Latinized strings of unrecognizable text. The Egyptian Communication Ministry's Arabic URL, for example, currently resolves to http://xn‚Ai-rmckbbajlc6dj7bxne2c.xn--wgbh1c/.
What Domain Name Changes to Expect in the Future?
Well, out of total 21 application requests representing 11 different languages, ICANN has approved 13. As a result, in the near future we can expect to see domain names in Chinese, Russian, Sinhalese, Tamil, Thai and possibly more other languages. Web programmers will now have to adapt to these changes more than anyone else. People who buy easily recognizable domain names in other languages (there'll be plenty of those in the beginning) can earn money on selling these domain names in the future.
Stay tuned as we will publish the progress of this process on this blog as well as reveal the links to the companies that start selling the domains in non-Latin characters.