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New podcast helps you join the conversation

Imagine footmen playing a royal brass fanfare as we announce: ICANN now produces its first audio podcast series for you!

When you join the ICANN community, you quickly discover that folks here have considered and debated certain issues for years. You want to participate, but when you try to educate yourself on a topic, you look on and find (seemingly) one thousand documents, each a hundred pages long. How do you begin to understand the issue?

From now on, the answer just might be ICANN Start. We produced this new audio podcast especially for listeners who are new to ICANN or new to a specific issue.

Each episode of ICANN Start focuses on one subject, and in an interview with a subject matter expert, answers five basic questions: What is it? Why does it matter? Who does it affect? Who’s going to fix it? How can I participate? (Sometimes the five questions vary, but the show is always one issue / five questions.)

No episode will run more than 20 minutes. In many cases, you can grasp the basics of a topic within the space of a coffee break – and without reading.

The podcast launched publicly last week, with four episodes. Tune in if you’d like a basic explanation of these topics: internationalized registration data; wildcarding and synthesized DNS responses; Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy; and country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs).

We’ll post a new episode on the first of each month. Find the podcast on the ICANN web site by clicking the home page’s E-Learning tab; or, you can surf directly to a list of episodes. Many of Apple’s global iTunes stores carry the show; to check for it, in the podcast section of iTunes search for “ICANN Start.”

Finally, as the host of the show, I want to learn from you. What ICANN topic do you wish someone would explain? Send your response to, and we’ll do our best to produce a relevant, helpful show for you. Get in on the beginning of this new effort and let us know how to improve it!

A well-informed opinion is a persuasive opinion. From now on when you wonder, “How can I wrap my mind around this issue?”, think, “ICANN Start.”


    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."