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Two Years Later: The Domain Industry in the Middle East

Middle east 703x342 19mar15 en
Second ME DNS Forum - Amman, Jordan

Second ME DNS Forum - Amman, Jordan

The Middle East is still a young market when it comes to Internet domain names. A lot of ground work needs to be done in the region to build awareness, showcase opportunities and exchange knowledge on DNS and the value it brings to the economy. We have focused strategic tracks in our Middle East Strategy that we continue to develop as part of enhancing the region's engagement in this field.

Since the announcement of the DNS Entrepreneurship Center last year, work is underway to kick start the project with two training sessions on DNS Business Development and Registry Best Practices confirmed for the 29 March and 6 April, thanks to our partners from NTRA, EURid, EnCirca and ITI. The sessions will focus on practical issues and experiences of actors in the field to help attendees better understand the operational environment of Registries and Registrars, and the different aspects related to the daily run of the business. Key to note, this project has just been nominated for the online Voting Phase of the WSIS Project Prizes 2015 contest.

Also, we recently announced a request for proposal (RFP) to conduct a DNS market study for the Middle East region, one of the recommendations of the ICANN Middle East strategy. The study will help provide us with a benchmark as it analyzes the state of the play of the industry in the region and provides recommendations on possible improvements.

Another initiative serving the same purpose is the Middle East DNS Forum that kicked off last year in Dubai. The Forum was created to provide a platform for those interested in DNS related topics to come together, meet with experts in the field, share views, and learn from each other's experiences. The second edition of this Forum took place earlier this month in Amman, Jordan. The discussions over the course of the two days were quite vibrant and brought some very interesting and different perspectives to light, not only with regard to core DNS issues like ccTLDs, new gTLDs, IDNs, and Registrar accreditation, but also about the broader ecosystem of e-commerce and online business and elements in there that affect in one way or another the evolution of the domain name industry.  The gathering in Amman last week was yet another evidence of how nascent the Middle East domain name industry is, and the palpable need to further develop and utilize it more effectively.

In continuance with our commitment to reach the broader community in the region we have also taken part in Arabnet, the largest digital summit in the region, presenting the ICANN commissioned Boston Consulting Group's report on e-friction.

We constantly encourage stakeholders in the region to join and participate actively in the various events organized to make their voices heard, and help strengthen the development of the domain industry in an inclusive and all encompassing manner.

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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."