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Advisory | Internationalized Domain Names (IDN): Implementation Update | ICANN approves temporary procedures to improve the transfer mechanism for IDN registrations

This is an important notice to registrants holding Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) registrations in .com, .net and .org. Some ICANN accredited registrars have announced that they will no longer be supporting and offering IDN registrations. In those cases, 'test bed' domain names will be deleted and lost to the registrant. Those wishing to retain their internationalized domain name should first check with their current registrar to determine whether that registrar will continue to support IDN registrations. If this is not the case, IDN registrants are advised to transfer their domain name registration to another registrar.

To assist in the process of transferring IDN registrations between registrars, ICANN approved on February 18, 2004 temporary setis of "IDN Transfer Procedures". These procedures will be implemented respectively by the .com, .net and .org Registry Operators (VeriSign and PIR have each developed a set of procedures to be applied to their registries). These procedures do not guarantee that names will be transferred successfully away from non IDN supporting registrars. Each registrant should contact their registrar to ensure that their name will be transferred if necessary.

February 20, 2004: On February 18, 2004, ICANN approved a temporary set of procedures to improve the mechanisms for transferring Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) between registrars.

The "IDN Transfer Procedures" were proposed separately by the operators of the .com, .net and .org registries (VeriSign and PIR). The temporary set of IDN Transfer Procedures were developed in order to make it easier for registrants to transfer their IDN registrations if their existing registrar plans to withdraw support of IDN registrations.

IDN registrants should contact their current registrar to determine whether their IDN registration will be supported by their current registrar. IDN domain names will be deleted by non-supporting registrars as early as February 28, 2004.

VeriSign and PIR will each communicate their respective temporary sets of transfer procedures for IDN registrations directly to all registrars. Please contact your preferred ICANN-accredited registrar for further information and assistance regarding your IDN registration.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."