Skip to main content

Public Comment: Draft Proposal for the Study of Issues Related to the Delegation of IDN Variant TLDs


The delegation and management of Variant TLDs remains an important issue. The ICANN community seeks to develop solutions to enable the delegation of Variant TLDs for the benefit of users in different regions.

Today, ICANN is publishing for public comment a Draft Proposal for an IDN Variant Issues Project – a proposal for moving this work forward.

On 25 September 2010 the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) directed the CEO "to develop an issues report identifying what needs to be done with the evaluation, possible delegation, allocation and operation of gTLDs containing variant characters IDNs as part of the new gTLD process in order to facilitate the development of workable approaches to the deployment of gTLDs containing variant characters IDNs." (

The proposed project work plan includes a series of case studies to investigate issues associated with delegating and using IDN variant TLDs in different communities, a staffing plan involving community members and a resource allocation plan. Importantly, this work will be coordinated with the Joint IDN Working Group and other community work on this topic. ICANN will also engage with the IETF to coordinate the consideration of technical issues associated with IDN variant TLDs delegation.

ICANN is also planning to conduct a workshop at the San Francisco meeting to discuss the Draft Proposal. In this session, representatives from different language communities will be invited to provide an overview of the potential issues with IDN variant TLDs.

Document Links:

The Process From Here:

At the end of this Public Comment Forum period, ICANN will review the comments submitted and prepare a summary analysis of the various submissions, and consider changes to the work plan based on public comments.

Deadline and How to Submit Comments:

At the direction of the Board, ICANN is opening a 45-day public consultation forum, from 21 February through 6 April 2011 and invites community comments concerning any/all elements of the proposal for "IDN Variant Issues Project".

The formal Public Comment Forum Box is located here:
To submit comments:
To view comments:
Staff Member Responsible: Kurt Pritz

More Announcements
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."