Meet the next generation of country codes

china_idn

So now that the media hype over internationalized domain names (IDNs) has died down, let’s focus on the messy details of what this all means.

First of all, we’re not about to see the non-Latin equivalent of .com anytime soon. Certainly not next year. There are several reason for this which I will cover in a later post.

What we should see next year are the non-Latin equivalents of country code top-level domains, such as .ru, .cn, .sa. It just so happens that I’ve got a handy map of all ccTLDs here.

Not all ccTLDs will be eligible for a “fast track” ccTLD, just those from countries that have official non-Latin languages.

The two largest countries I would expect to launch IDNs in 2010 are China and Russia.

China has had its IDN ready to go for some time now; the traditional Chinese character version is shown above. The simplified character version is below. The assumption is that both versions will be bundled together.

china_idn_simp

Below is a screen grab from China’s government web site. Perhaps in 2010 we’ll see “GOV.cn” replaced.

china_govt_domain

Russia will likely be using this IDN next year:

ru_idn

This IDN is short for “Russian Federation.” Why not just use the equivalent of .RU, you ask? Well, that would give us .ру, which looks entirely too similar to .py (Paraguay).

So there you have it — IDNs for China and Russia, with many more to follow.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

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