Next Generation Internet Users?

by Tina Dam on November 14, 2009

As we (at ICANN staff) have been preparing for the Fast Track launch, for tomorrow, it was suggested to me that I write a blog post about it. I could have written about all the hard work, the long hours, the aggressive testing of the online system, keeping it simple and yet flexible for all expected participants to find it useful for exactly their purpose. Not to mention the work ahead of us and the already tireless hours put in by so many around the world that if I start listing you I’d run out of space – and how amazing it has been to be a part of this new development :)

Instead I have decided to post the letter below. Samira is a real person She is a little girl from a village in a developing country. She has one thing in common with many others – she has no access to the Internet (they do have radio). But while her Internet problems start at a different place than IDNs, I am confident that IDNs at some point soon will make it easier for her to learn about the Internet and also make it easier for her to use it. Samira will have to wait for the postal delivery of this letter – but then there is nothing like getting that kind of mail too :)

Other than that I just like to say that I hope the Fast Track launch goes smoothly, and that it will work favorable for all participants. But most of all I hope that we with this launch will treat IDNs carefully and with the respect it deserves, and that we will continue to work together across time-zones and cultures, because afterall, what is the Internet if it does not work well for many years and users to come.

Dear Samira,
Tomorrow is BIG BIG day for many people around the world and I decided to share it with you.

I know you have not seen the Internet yet, but as you grow up and you do, maybe you will recall this letter and an exciting time. What is the Internet? Well, it’s like this big box of information, pictures, games – you can read and also write about anything you like. it could be about peasants, your favorite food, toy, and you know what? You can even listen to the radio on the Internet. Only your imagination sets a limit for the Internet. Have you ever looked under water? It’s like an entire new world down there, so different than on land. The Internet is kind of like that – a different world – only bigger and it has information about under-water and land in it….anything you can imagine :)

And every page on this Internet has an address. You know, just like you know how to explain where you live. It is made that way so that I can tell you an address and you can then go to that address and read my letter to you, or look at a picture I placed there for you to see. All these addresses have only been able to be written in the Roman alphabet….yes sounds a little weird, but that is just all those letters you see me write here.

Guess what happens tomorrow? Countries around the world – your country too – will be able to get a new address on the Internet. The most exciting thing is that this new address can be in almost any letters you like. So you can use your own language for an address for you. Then your friends and family can use that address and see what you are putting on the Internet. So it will be easier for you and everyone you know to remember that address. I think you will be excited when you see how it works.

I know that even though you already know more than one language, you are soon going to begin learning English. English is the language I used to write this letter to you. Languages are so exciting and they change all the time. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with, but I will tell you more about it in my next letter. Learning another language is amazing and it will help you communicate with people around the world. I have made so many friends around the world who all have helped make the Internet change the way I tried to describe to you. They have all taught me something important about life that I will never forget. But it would not have worked if we did not speak a little bit of the same language. So I really hope that you will be enjoying learning a new language.

You know how you can write your language both by using the Roman alphabet, and also the Arabic one? Well, this Internet change is almost the same thing – now these addresses can be in either alphabet too! And the coolest thing about it is that there is only one to decide which alphabet to use, and that it YOU! It is your choice for you and you alone!

But please keep that in mind when you start using the Internet. Let me know when that is and I will help you get your own address to a place on the Internet, in your language. But remember that I am not able to read or write your language (although I wish) so it may be a little bit difficult for me in the beginning ;-) and I will need your help.

With the very best wishes to you and many many others in the next generation of Internet users. I know I am together with many people around the world when I say that I can’t wait to see what you will use it for and how you will change it over time too….

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous 11.15.09 at 2:04 am

Wonderful letter! Thank you, Tina – and good luck to Samira!

Commentator 11.15.09 at 9:02 pm

China HAS split the root already. Thats why they have IDN.IDN in the root inside China, but it doesn’t work outside of China, for quite a few years now already.

Anand 11.15.09 at 9:51 pm

Very nice letter.

JJ 11.16.09 at 12:46 pm

sounds like marketing bs about samira- just tell the truth – ICANN has been lazy all of these years and finally got off their feet. Why didn’t they help “Samira”.. years ago.

Tina Dam 11.16.09 at 6:36 pm

Hi JJ, sorry you feel that way. A lot of people around the world have worked so hard to get to this point. It has not been easy, but we are all very excited that we are here now.

Just to list a few of the things that needed to fall into place:

– revision of the IDNA protocol to ensure a stable launch for IDN TLDs
– testing of IDN TLDs in the DNS
– a process, build through bottom-up practises, to request, evaluate, delegate the IDN ccTLDs
– IDN Guidelines based on second-level experiences.
– various number of local testbeds
– a lot of work related to the IDN Tables to ensure they work across scripts, limiting the confusability for end-users….that otherwise risked ruining the entire purpose for IDNs.
-not to mention all the application providers implementations – this since IDNs work at the application layer as opposed to many other protocols.

I could continue, but you can read more in the history announcements here:

Hope that helped provide perhaps a different perspective.

About Samira, well, that was one take and my personal view on why it is so very important that we launch in a very careful manner.


Rex 11.20.09 at 2:20 am

Why “peasants”?

Tina Dam 11.20.09 at 10:33 pm

@ Rex – her parents are peasant famers and she likes them. She is just a small kid :)

laptop uzmani 11.22.09 at 3:11 am

i think that nex generation is more use internet from us because they are use computers and internet when they born.

Sugeng Kurniawan 12.31.09 at 4:40 am

so, when we can start to use the Arabic, Chinese or other Asian character (non-ASCII) to create a domain name?

Kazan tatar 01.15.10 at 5:32 am

Sugeng Kurniawan, I think wait for a long timeю

diane Bassman 02.12.10 at 7:44 am

thanks so much to all for working so hard to develop wonder-full means of communicating and bringing those of us without your technical skills closer together.
Thanks also to Tina Dam, in the above “blog” for putting in layman’s terms an understanding of the internet so that neophytes, whether young or old, can understand what is happening .
KUDOS to all
diane bassmn,USA

Sean 03.22.10 at 6:42 am


So just trying to clarify things, a regular everyday person isn’t allowed to purchase an international domain name? Is the purchase of these domain names only limited to governments and international representatives?

If not, when and where can I purchase a domain name?

Thank you for your time,


Londen bezienswaardigheden 04.07.10 at 4:00 pm

Any more news on Sean’s questions, I would be interested in hearing the answers too.

Tina Dam 04.07.10 at 4:33 pm

Sean, all, sorry, I had not payed attention to this blog post for some time.

The registration rules for the IDn ccTLDs are set by the local operators. They are required to follow certain technical criteria to ensure that their extension are running in a good fashion for end-users, but other than that, any kind of eligibility requirments are set locally.

The best way to get specific answers is probably to ask the main point of contact for the various requests for IDN ccTLDs. You can see those here:

The intent is certainly that this is for “all” users, but please note that some countries make restrictions such as a registrant must have an address in-country, or similar restrictions.


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image