Becoming UA-Ready – ICANN Update

30 March 2020
By Gary Petzer

Learn Best Practices to Increase Internet Inclusivity and Diversity Through UA

The Domain Name System (DNS) is more inclusive and diverse than ever before with top-level domain (TLD) names in different languages and scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, as well as those longer than the traditional two or three letters/characters. While users can now better represent their identities online and navigate the Internet in the language of their choice, many applications and online systems have not kept up with the changing DNS and they do not recognize or process all new domain names or associated email addresses.

Universal Acceptance (UA) is the best practice that ensures all Internet-enabled applications, devices and systems accept all domain names and email addresses regardless of the chosen language/script or character length. Without fully achieving UA, users with valid credentials are prevented from fully experiencing the Internet, which results in frustrating and inconsistent experiences while limiting the ability for organizations to connect with their global users.

To further UA and benefit the Internet community, ICANN's Chief Information Officer, along with the Front Office Relationship & Delivery and Software Engineering groups, have been working diligently to make ICANN's systems fully UA-ready. Today, we're pleased to announce that we've updated our internal and custom services to be UA-ready, where possible. In some instances, we are limited from having full UA functionality due to certain services being provided by a third-party product; however, we are working with such vendors to have them update their services, with a focus on those that directly impact the community.

In order to broadly share best practices and key learnings with other organizations, we developed a case study with the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), which includes a UA project initiation guideline and goes in-depth on the following three stages of UA-readiness.

Three Stages of Achieving Universal Acceptance

Three Stages of Achieving Universal Acceptance

  • Stage 1: Establish support for new short and long ASCII-based TLDs.
  • Stage 2: Establish support for Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) TLDs in Unicode or Punycode.
  • Stage 3: Establish support for Email Address Internationalization (EAI).

In an increasingly connected world, achieving UA is key to reducing every organization's "technical debt," supporting the next billion Internet users, promoting competition and customer choice, as well as improving access. To read the full ICANN case study and learn more about the three stages of achieving UA, click here.


Gary Petzer

Gary Petzer