ICANN is working with stakeholders around the world to achieve a multilingual and inclusive Internet through Universal Acceptance (UA), which ensures that all valid domain names and email addresses – regardless of language, script, or character length (e.g., .рф, .ভারত, .photography) – are accepted equally by all Internet-enabled applications, devices, and systems. As UA adoption has grown, it has become increasingly important to focus on measuring UA progress and challenges to identify where resources and support are needed most.
That is why ICANN recently conducted two surveys to assess the UA-readiness of key stakeholder groups. The first report, Universal Acceptance (UA) Readiness Survey Report – Contracted Parties and Registry Service Providers, examined the UA-readiness of registry operators (ROs), registrars, and registry service providers (RSPs). The second report, Universal Acceptance (UA) Readiness Survey Report – ccTLDs, surveyed country code top-level domain managers.
Overall, the results are encouraging. It is evident that contracted parties and RSPs have made UA-readiness one of their priorities and dedicated resources to becoming UA-ready, with 84 percent of responding ROs and registrars, and 100 percent of responding RSPs stating they are UA-ready or partially UA-ready. Of the UA services supported, the majority of organizations support Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), short new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), and gTLDs longer than six characters, though only a small percentage support Email Address Internationalization (EAI). Their primary motivations for becoming UA-ready are to grow their customer base (70 percent) and be more competitive (65 percent).
Interestingly, the results do not show a strong relationship between the level of UA-readiness and the size of the organization. This suggests that smaller organizations, despite having fewer resources, are prioritizing UA, and dedicating what resources they do have to becoming UA-ready.
Likewise, most of the ccTLD managers who responded to the survey are UA-ready or partially UA-ready (69 percent). Their main motivations for becoming UA-ready are to gain more customers, respond to customer needs, and support local language communities. Furthermore, more than a third (35 percent) of ccTLD managers are actively promoting UA updates via local events, including collaborating with other ccTLDs via regional and global platforms, and more than half (59 percent) said they are aware of the technical resources available from ICANN.
For ccTLD managers who indicated they are not UA-ready or are only partially UA-ready, nearly a third (31 percent) include UA-readiness in their roadmap; and 50 percent of those plan to start working on UA-readiness within the next 12 months.
ICANN plans to consider the results of both surveys when updating its UA strategy and will share details with relevant UA working groups. The results underscore that while much progress has been made in adopting UA, more work is needed to achieve a truly global, multilingual Internet. ICANN remains committed to providing solutions for stakeholders, including ongoing training on a variety of UA-related topics. Recently, ICANN published the UA Roadmap for Domain Name Registry and Registrar Systems, which proposes how to test these systems for UA-readiness for the benefit of TLD registries and registrars.