I am bullish on internationalized domain names (IDNs). I view them as a natural evolution of a multilingual Internet.
But I also am well aware that there are those who says IDNs are more hype than substance. That they will never be more than a novelty.
With this in mind, I have to report that the number of IDN registrations in Japan has decreased over the past year.
Japan’s registry has launched a web site to counter this trend, shown below:
What do you think? Will this ominous-looking web site stem the tide?
I’m not so sure.
But I don’t believe the problem is IDNs per se, rather the lack of full-length IDN availability (coming soon to Japan and elsewhere).
More important is the lack for IDN support across all software applications.
Also, keep in mind that while IDNs struggle to take off in Japan, in Russia they are big news. As of today, more than 700,000 Russian IDNs have been registered.
Japan recently surpassed one million country code (.jp) registrations.
In doing so, it joins the following countries who also have more than a million country code registrations:
United Kingdom (.uk)
United States (.us)
Germany is the leader, with more than 11 million registrations, but China is gaining ground, with 8.4 million. The US has roughly 1.3 million registrations.
For the ultimate country code reference, see the Country Codes of the World poster.
Motoko Hunt over at Multilingual Search writes about Baidu, China’s leading search portal, and its official entry into Japan
As I mentioned in last month, Baidu has long had its sights set on entering the Japanese market. The launch date is January 23rd (though the site is now live at www.baidu.jp). It appears that additional search features will be launched on the 23rd, such as for travel and restaurants.
According to Motoko, the quality of Baidu’s engine will be rough initially, because some Japanese sites have been avoiding Baidu’s spiders.
And then there’s the issue of content filtering/censorship. It’s one thing for a US-based search engine to be fully open in the US and censored in China (i.e., Google) and another thing for a Chinese-based search engine to be censored at home and fully open abroad. I’m not quite sure this is even possible, but we shall see.
Yahoo! dominates Japan currently.