When can I register domain names under IDN TLDs?

by Tina Dam on February 6, 2008

ICANN hears this question all the time at meetings, events, in different online forums, on the idn.icann.org wiki, and in emails and phone calls. The great challenge is it the answer isn’t the specific “as of this date” answer so many people want to hear. Because of the nature of some critical functions that still needs to be finalized, such as for example the policy process, we’re only able to provide an estimate.

Right now both the GNSO and the ccNSO are taking a look at how IDNs can be introduced or delegated at the top-level – how you can get, say, all-Arabic-cahracters after the dot in a domain name. ICANN have processes for delgation of ccTLDs and there have been a couple of rounds in the past years for introduction of new gTLDs, but none of these included IDN TLDs.

For the GNSO this is a matter of the general process for introduction of new gTLDs. There is lots of information on this at: http://gnso.icann.org

The ccNSO is working on two processes right now – the overarching policy development process (PDP) for having IDN equivalents of the country-code top-level domains, and a fast-track process to find a way to introduce a limited number of “IDN ccTLDs” to represent territory identifications in characters from their their local languages in operation as ccTLDs as quickly as possible in the areas of highest need, without impacting the long-term policy process for the full implementation of IDNs.

The first draft report for the fast-track work has just been posted for public comments and will be discussed further during the ICANN meeting in Delhi. All IDN interested parties are urged to provide their comments on the report. The announcement and comment forum can be found here: http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-01feb08.htm

But back to the question. While both the fast-track and the process for introduction of new gTLDs are aiming at being available by mid- or late-2008, it will still take time to see IDN registrations because the next step will need to happen. IDN TLD operators need to step forward, get approved/delgatons need to take place, and start operating with registry operator going through any launch phase that they may have determined provides the best service to the community they are intending to serve.

Simply, even though processes are underway together with the rest of the IDN related work, it’s impossible to give a final or specific date for end users to get through all of those steps. That said, everyone working on this understands the incredible desire in the community and across the globe to have the first registrations under IDN TLDs. We are going to get there together.


Imran Ahmed Shah 02.07.08 at 3:24 am

The procedures to apply for registration or to sponsor a new gTLD or new ccTLD or IDN TLD are not defined on the website icann.org.

Similarly there should be pre-defined but easy procedure to apply for membership for the ICANN, GNSO and other Councils and Organizations. For example when we locate that how we can join, we found that Membership of the ccNSO is limited to ccTLD Managers (see ICANN Bylaws Article IX (4)(1)). Where as ccTLD Managers can be only nominated by the representative pre-registered ccTLD Registrars. How new organization or companies can obtain registration of new IDN, cc or g TLDs. Even we could not found that how we can attend ICANN meeting in Delhi with visiting over there or through Dial-In facility. I also want to participate in policy development process (PDP).

Organization and Council had to address these issues and define the procedure for new commers.

I am also worried that there is no sponsorship, registrar, fellowship or even a small level of membership alloted to the community of Pakistan which is on a good level of World Bank economic Directory.

I have gone through the ICANN.org website and activities but could not found any activity or proposal for Urdu Language naming convention and translation of Domain Names.

I have a lot of ideas for the policies for Internet, Domain Naming convention, IP Addresses and DNS but I am unable to find out the better way and proper platform to describe.

I hope Internet Organization will consider my concerns in positive way, and I will be given chance to be participate for the TLDs names Registration.

Thanks and Best Regards,

Imran A. Shah
61-MET Railway Colony,
Lahore, Pakistan

Tina Dam 02.07.08 at 1:09 pm

Hello Imran,
thank you for your feedback regarding ICANN participation. I will try to addrss some of your questions but have also passed your email on to my collegueas – they are currently travelling to Delhi so please expect a bit time before they can get back to you with more information.

The procedures one must follow to become an IDN TLD registry operator are not online yet as they are still under development in the community. Updates to this extend will be provided on http://www.icann.org.

I am very sorry to hear that you were unable to figure out how to participate in the India meeting. We have tried to make our website more accesible. If you run into such problems in the future please take direct contact to an ICANN staff member immidiately and ask for their assistance. All staff contacts are availble online at: http://www.icann.org/general/staff.html

In general for newcomers I would recommend you to go through the site at http://www.icann.org/new.html that contains a good overview of ICANN. For participation, we have the participation site at: http://public.icann.org/ For the Delhi meeting, and future meetings see: http://icann.org/meetings Here you will also find the schedule and the remote participation for those sessions that are webcast directly from the meeting.

The different supporting oranisations and adviory commitees are set up so that a variety of interested parties can find a way to participate. If you are a registrar for example then that can be done via the registrar constituency. If you are an individual with an interest to participate then this can be done via the ALAC – see http://alac.icann.org

Please feel free to email me directly at tina.dam@icann.org so that we can find the right entry for you.

I hope this amswers some of your questions. And please rest assured that your concers and suggestions have been passed on to ICANN staff that deal with these issues on a daily basis.

best regards,

贵阳酒店 02.07.08 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for the introduction for provide the important message

David Wrixon 02.08.08 at 4:23 am

Whilst IDN TLDs are not generally available, it should be noted that in many cases the rights to IDN ccTLD will be linked to those of the ASCII ccTLD. This is pretty much certainly the case with dot CN, and the only major case where this is clearly not going to be the case is Dot RU and probably the other cyrillic national registeries.

With gTLDs things are pretty much still up in the air, but it has to be recognised that there is strong liklihood that in many cases the IDN TLDs will probably be just aliased to the existing ASCII extensions. This will effectively mean that the landrush actually started back in 2001. Of course nobody can say for certain because that is not how the process works, but it was Versign that put forward the D-Name solution for aliasing extension, and it will be Verisign that has much of the say as to whether dot com is aliased or not.

The bottom line is that whilst nothing is yet set in stone regarding IDN TLDs, IDN are already with us, and it is highly likely that the market is being carved up as we speak.

Jerry Burns 02.09.08 at 6:58 am

Thank you for your hard work. We look forward to reading about your progress.

bwhhisc 02.17.08 at 4:33 am

You can use IDN.com, IDN.net, IDN.cn, IDN.jp, IDN.de, IDN.biz, IDN.tv etc. etc. TODAY. Many of these have been registered since 2000′. Only now with the worldwide release of IE7 and Vista will the browser be able to read the unicode and resolve to punycode.

IDN.com, etc. can be registered at Dynadot, Domainsite, Moniker, ENOM, and now I think even GoDaddy.

IDN.idn will be a wonderful thing when it arrives over the course of the next few years (sunrise for a few are “projected” for late 2008 and 2009.

In the meantime, ICANN would do a great service to the world internet communities to inform them about their IDN choices that they can use TODAY!

Tina Dam 02.18.08 at 12:31 am

Hello bwhhisc, ICANN is not a marketing service for domain related products. This is handled by registrars or resellers and to some extend the registries.

However, in the work related to idn tlds icann staff is trying to be careful about mentioning that we offcourse have had idns for quite some time and that this is the extention of the second level introductions.


Imran Ahmed Shah 02.18.08 at 6:06 am

Dear Tina
Thank you for prompt reply.

As you mentioned that you have forwarded my message to your colleagues who were on Delhi visit, I hope that they have returned back. I am waiting for their reply and further information to my queries.

With reference to the opening the first round for Applications new gTLD, I hope that it may happen in the mid of this year 2008.

Can you give us an some estimated fee for the Application? or at least please inform that is it going to be the same as mentioned on the url page http://www.icann.org/tld/application-process-03aug00.htm i.e. non-refundable US$50,000. ?

It seems to me that this opportunity is limited to the rich organizations.

If I am not wrong, this is very hard to justify the non-refundable fee of US$50,000/- to submit with an Application when it is rejected. Similarly how the individuals can pay this non-refundable fee.

It is suggested that the new TLD fee should not be so high, but the concurrent charges may be applied with each next level domain names created with TLD. This procedure will help to provide equal opportunity to the community of Internet world.

I can also see that an organization Und1.com, who is claiming that they are authorized to register cTLD and pTLD with another organization INAIC. Their Online registration is open at http://www.un1d.com/register-now.php with the refundable fee of US$1000. But looking on the contact information and no reference found on ICANN.org website, it seems to me that they have no ground. If their claim is not true, I request ICANN.org and IANA.org to block their contents on the internet or at-least inform Internet community through FAQ and blog.icann.org.

With reference to Multilingual TLD Names, I suggest that there should be some translation/conversion system for each previously defined TLD. For example .com, .org, .edu and .gov do not have similar or understandable meanings in Local Languages and Scripts such as Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Urdu and Chinese. At the other end it is also not possible to create similar TLD for each International Language to provide equivalent words (abbreviations) to other popular TLDs e.g. for .com, .org, .edu and .gov. So the mechanism to translate is the better way like the URL Name is translated into IP addresses.

I hope that similar positive response to the above message.


Imran Ahmed Shah


Bill Winans 02.18.08 at 2:25 pm

QUOTE: ICANN is not a marketing service for domain related products. This is handled by registrars or resellers and to some extend the registries. END QUOTE

ICANN can and should provide that “information” without ever appearing to be a “marketing service”. There are a dozen registrars that handle idn.com, idn.jp, idn.cn etc. and you don’t have to recommend any by name.

ICANN’s goal would simply be to state the facts that these area available, and hopefully to put many of these “working” IDNs into development by web designers and businesses in the various foreign countries.

My comment was directed to the fact that I believe that the majority of the internet using public around the world don’t know that IDN.com etc. are available to register and use TODAY as they await the new IDN.IDNs to come online.

As IE7 broswser support rolls out in Asia throughout 2008 they are going to be seeing more and more IDN.com .net, .jp, .cn, .de .tv etc. popping up on Google and Baidu searches etc. and many will say “what the heck are these IDN things?”….followed by “I read these weren’t coming out until later this year or next”, then when they find out the skinny….”why, oh why didn’t anyone tell us these were not only available to register but able to be used TODAY!”

Tina Dam 02.19.08 at 12:37 am

Hi Bill,
i think we pretty much are in agreement. If you see the latter part of my initial reply I said:

“However, in the work related to idn tlds icann staff is trying to be careful about mentioning that we offcourse have had idns for quite some time and that this is the extention of the second level introductions”

However, I thank you for your clarification and I will take your comment back and see if there is something related to this that we can do better.


Tina Dam 02.19.08 at 12:54 am

Hello Imran,
thanks for your note. Suggestions, comments and questions are always welcomed.

On the staff side my collegueas are working hard to make the introduction of new gTLDs happen as quickly as possible. Annnouncements will be made on http://www.icann.org.

Re the fees, these have not be set yet, but are being worked on in order to cover the expenses related with the process. The reference you are making was for the round in 2000, where 7 new gTLDs were introduced. It is not possible to say how this will compare to this round, at least not yet.

ICANN has no relationship with the company you are referring to. We also cannot block content or take down sites – this is not within ICANNs mandate. However, i pass this information on the to team at ICANN working on the process of introduction of new gTLDs.

About the translations, the procss for new gTLDs (incl IDNs) has specified that being a current operator for a gTLD does not give automatic rights to the translated or transliterated version of the TLD. So a translation mechanism is not something that will be managed centrally at ICANN. Strings that are applied for though can go through an objection mechanism and will be checked for confusingly similarity. as such existing registries can object to others getting a TLD assigned that is cionfusingly similar to an existing TLD. Other than that it is up to each registry operator to decide if they want to apply for a translated string corresponding to their existing TLD.

I hope this helps. You may want to revisit some of the presentations from Delhi for further information. For example, http://delhi.icann.org/workshop/14feb08/gtlds and the new gTLD presentations at http://delhi.icann.org/14feb08/public-forum

Best regards,

FrankieSaysImpeach 02.20.08 at 3:25 pm

>ICANN is not a marketing service for domain related products.

Yes. ICANN doesn’t market Verisign’s perpetual ownership of .com and the continual annual increases in registry fees (even when others offered to run it for $2 p.a. or less), they just ENABLE it.

But anyway, it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that IDN ccTLD’s for Japan, China and Korea could have been added to the root yesterday but for the whining of immature people from other countries/languages who won’t allow progress unless their chosen hobby horse is included immediately.

Tina Dam 02.20.08 at 11:51 pm

Hello Frankiesaysimpeach,
based on your opinion on “IDN ccTLDs” im guessing that you have not been part of the policy development work, nor the IDNA protocol work that is currently ongoing. Both areas have a large number of individuals working close to 24/7 trying to make this work for the global community and the issues to solve are not very easy.

As such your opinion does not seem very valid to me.


Imran Ahmed Shah 02.21.08 at 12:30 am

Dear Tina
Thank you for your reply. We understand that the registration process for gTLD & IDN TLDs are still un-covered and in Policy Preparation phases.

Please inform that is there any other type of TLD Registration e.g. ccTLD, Corporate TLD (cTLD), Public TLD (pTLD) and/or IDN-CC TLD is open with any of Internet Management Organization now a days?

And please also inform that are these a valid classification of TLDs? if yes, who manage their registrations and policies (e.g. IANA or ICANN or any third organization):
1. Corporate TLD (cTLD),
2. Public TLD (pTLD).

Some other companies e.g. TLD.NAME & UnifiedRoot.com are also claiming that they are providing facility to register new Corporate TLD (cTLD),
Public TLD (pTLD), where as there is reference found on IANA and ICANN for these categories.

Another information to share with the readers of this blog who belongs to Asian countries (exclusively for use in Pakistan and India Sub-Continent Region) that we have configured our website home page (last night) to provide facility to type in Urdu Language for the purpose of IDN domain name. Now if some one type “اروکتب” (translation of Urdu Books) and try to search, the interlinked page will provide the facility to search domain name with .com TLD and if the IDN.com is available, it can be processed for immediate registration. Its Pakistan’s first local language domain name provider.

I propose ICANN to ask their approved Registrars to provide the similar facility on their Domain Registration, Search and Who-Is pages to as an Editor for Urdu type Asian Languages to facilitate IDN International Domain Names.


Imran Ahmed Shah

Imran Ahmed Shah 02.21.08 at 1:30 am

A question from my fried is forwarded to me that I did not mentiond the website name in which we enabled Urdu Typing and Domain Name Search facility, So please find hereunder URL Link to access to Type, Search and finally register your International Domain Name (IDN) in Urdu Language with .com and .net:

This facility is available at http://www.urduware.com

Best Regards,


Imran Ahmed Shah

Staff 02.21.08 at 1:31 am

UrduWare.com proudly presents domain name registration in Urdu language with additional support for over 100 languages though the provider. Just visit , type in your urdu name and search which will take you to

Tina Dam 02.22.08 at 12:45 pm

Hello Imran,
thanks for your questions.

The simplest answer to your questions, i believe is to let you know that the ccTLD delegation and redelegations are following the IANA procedures available at http://www.iana.org/domains/root/cctld/ (this does not include IDNs at the top level, but the registries can offcourse implement IDNs at second level, which several have done).

I have not heard the division of TLDs into the pTLd and cTLDs as you mention. usually they are referred to as ccTLDs (country code) and gTLDs (generic).

I agree with you that it would be useful for the registrar to have whois and search capabilities available for IDNs. It is not all registrars that offer IDN registrations, however I will mention this to ICANN’s registrar liaison team and see if we can provide the registrars as a group with some information to this extent.


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