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Recommendations for Managing IDN Variant Top-Level Domains

Open Date: 25 July 2018 Close Date: 3 September 2018
Originating Organization: Global Domains Division
Categories/Tags: Top-Level Domains
Brief Overview:

Recommendations for managing Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) variant labels for top level domains (TLDs) have been developed by ICANN organization. The relevant materials along with these proposed recommendations are being published to seek community feedback.

The community has identified a need for IDN variant TLDs; however, the ICANN Board resolved on 25 September 2010 that "no variants of gTLDs will be delegated ... until appropriate variant management solutions are developed."

Subsequent work by ICANN organization and the community led to the identification of two issues: (i) there is no accepted definition for variant TLDs, and (ii) there is no 'variant management' mechanism for TLDs.

For the first issue, the Root Zone Label Generation Rules (RZ-LGR) Procedure was developed with the support of the community and adopted by the ICANN Board on 11 April 2013 for implementation. The Procedure has been implemented and RZ-LGR has been developed for six scripts, and other scripts are being added as their proposals are finalized by the relevant script communities.

For the second issue, ICANN organization has undertaken a detailed examination to propose a set of recommendations for variant management mechanisms for TLDs, which will be finalized based on the community input. The finalized recommendations will be presented to the ICANN Board, anticipated in March 2019. At that time, the ICANN Board will be requested to consider these recommendations to allow for implementing IDN variant TLDs.

Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/managing-idn-variant-tlds-2018-07-25-en

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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."