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IDN Variant TLD Program Update

The IDN Variant TLD Program has the following two updates:

  1. Volunteer Team formed to assist the development of the Label Generation Ruleset Process for the Domain Name System (DNS) Root Zone

    ICANN is pleased to announce the formation of a global volunteer team, comprised of community experts, who will work with ICANN on the project to define the Label Generation Ruleset Process for the DNS root zone. This project is part of the IDN Variant TLD Program (see below) that is intended to lead to the delegation of IDN Variant TLDs.  Delegation of these types of IDN TLDs is expected to broaden global participation in the domain name system, but must be accomplished in a way that ensures good user experience.

    This particular project will develop  the process to define allowed code points, corresponding exchangeable variant code points, and related allowed states for IDN Variant TLDs.

    The project requires significant technical expertise and the individual members of the volunteer team (listed below) possess capabilities in IDNA, Domain Name System, Linguistics, Unicode and Policy Development.

    The volunteer team will undertake the work through periodic teleconference calls and two face-to-face meetings. The first meeting will be on 29-30 August 2012 in Los Angeles, United States. The second two-day working session is planned during the ICANN meeting in Toronto, Canada. There will be an open public session in the Toronto meeting at which ICANN staff and volunteer team representatives will present an update on the progress and answer questions.

    The volunteer team is comprised of the following members from 18 countries and territories:

    Fahd A. Batayneh
    Chris Dillon
    Neha Gupta
    Sarmad Hussain
    Akshat Joshi
    Daniel Kalchev
    Yoav Keren
    Dmitry Kohmanyuk
    Mahesh Kulkarni
    Nadya Morozova
    Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos
    Alireza Saleh
    Vaggelis Segredakis
    James Seng
    Vladimir Shadrunov
    Syed Iftikhar H.  Shah
    Will Shorter
    Alexei Sozonov
    Mirjana Tasic
    Joseph Yee
    Yoshiro Yoneya
    Zhoucai (Joe) Zhang
    Linlin Zhou
    Team Observers:
    Rinalia Abdul Rahim
    Edmon Chung
    Raymond Doctor

  2. Updated IDN Variant TLD Program posted

    ICANN has updated the IDN Variant TLD Program Plan [PDF, 576 KB] that describes the projects that are intended to lead to the delegation of IDN variant TLDs. The plan defines the processes that must be in place to enable the delegation and management of IDN Variant TLDs.

    Two previous versions of the plan have been posted for public comment and discussed with the community during the ICANN meeting in Costa Rica in March 2012. This latest version reflects the latest public input.

    The Program follows on from the IDN Variant Issues Project that completed its work with the publication of the final Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB] on 20 February 2012.

    Interested members of the community can receive updates and participate in the discussion of the variant work by subscribing to the mailing list ( or by visiting the Community Wiki at:

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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."