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ICANN Signs .pro Registry Agreement | The first secure Internet domain exclusively for professionals

Marina del Rey, California USA (8 May 2002) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that it has executed an agreement with RegistryPro, Inc. for operation of the new top-level domain “.pro” registry.

ICANN President/CEO M. Stuart Lynn stated, “This is the last agreement of the current round of seven top level domain extensions selected by ICANN to be added to the existing domain name system. We are pleased to welcome RegistryPro to the fold.”

The .pro extension will create the Internet’s first top-level domain exclusively for licensed professionals. Expected to launch by the end of 2002 or early next year, the .pro top-level domain will offer registrations only to credentialed professionals. Initially, registrations will be opened to the medical (e.g.,, legal (e.g.,, and accountancy (e.g., and professions and associated institutions (such as hospitals).

To facilitate the highest levels of privacy in communications and authenticated transactions, RegistryPro will be the first registry to require enhanced security with every .pro name. Every registrant’s professional standing will be verified, and each will be issued a digital certificate enabling encryption, and digital signature services.

Over the past year, ICANN has signed agreements with seven registry operators, including RegistryPro. These agreements have led to the launch of six new top level domains in addition to pro, namely: .biz, .info, .name, .museum, .coop, and .aero. All six have been launched and are actively registering new domain names.

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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"""" is not an IDN."