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Call For Action: Public Comment Period for the DNS Study for the Middle East and Adjoining Countries – an ICANN Middle East Initiative

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking feedback on the initial draft study [PDF, 5.42 MB] on the Domain Name System (DNS) for the Middle East and Adjoining Countries (MEAC Region), which was commissioned in June 2015. The study aims to analyze the domain name industry ecosystem in the Middle East and Adjoining Countries region (which includes the 22 Arab states, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), and develop recommendations on how to advance the industry and support market growth.

A consortium led by EURid, with support from Emily Taylor Internet Research, Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property and Oxford Information Labs, is conducting the DNS study for ICANN.

The study examines the domain name industry within the wider context of the region's Internet development, Internet usage patterns and user preferences, the region's hosting industry and the importance of local language content. It then draws on relevant benchmarks and best practices, developed within the global ccTLD environment, and leads to some suggested actions that may stimulate wider uptake.

This initial report contains the results of a structured survey of ccTLD registries in the region, supplemented by interviews with registries and registrars. Additionally, it measures the region's domain names from a variety of sources, including contacts with ccTLD managers and an automated analysis of 150 million domains from open gTLD zone files.

This initiative is a direct product of the ICANN Middle East Engagement Strategy. The draft is now open for comments until 30 October 2015.  Please send all comments to meswg@icann.org.

The initial report will be discussed during a special session during ICANN54 in Dublin, on Tuesday October 20 at 16.15 – 17.30 UTC at Wicklow Hall 1. More information can be found here.


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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."