Meet the next generation of country codes


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.


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


Russia will likely be using this IDN next year:


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.

Strange Maps: The Book

If you like maps and you haven’t yet discovered the Strange Map blog, I recommend checking it out.

It’s oddly addictive.

Now there’s a print version — Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities.


Included within the book is our very own Country Codes of the World map.

I received a copy this week and plan to dive in this weekend. It’s a big book — with more than a hundred maps. One map that jumped out at me was of the Kentucky Bend — a bulbous little chunk of land carved by the Mississippi river and the New Madrid earthquake.

.YU we hardly knew you


It’s funny how top-level domain names (TLDs) outlast the countries they represent.

In 2007 I wrote about the end of .YU (Yugoslavia), though it didn’t exactly go away back then.

Stephane Gelder writes that the TLD for Yugoslavia expires officially in a week, to be replaced by .RS (Serbia).

So this is it. Goodbye .YU. It was nice knowing you.

Speaking of domains that won’t die. .SU is still with us. I’m not sure that one will ever die. It’s become one of those retro domains that Russians don’t want to let go of. And I understand the attraction.

Domains are the street signs of our digital lives and it’s hard to let them go.

In case you’re wondering, I did not include .YU in the poster.