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ICANN Update - Names Council Warns Pre-Registration of Speculative New Domain Names Is Premature

September 29, 2000 -- Commenting on the process for establishing new top-level domain names (TLDs) the Names Council of the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) emphasizes that no new TLDs have been selected as of this date and no one is authorized to pre-register names.

Noting that some companies are claiming to offer pre-registration services to consumers who may wish to register in the new TLDs, the Names Council has issued the following statement. "The Names Council feels it is premature for companies to offer pre-registration services for domain names in speculative new TLDs. To date, no new TLDs have been selected and there is no guarantee that any particular organization will be authorized to take registrations for any particular TLD. The registration of names in new TLDs will be done on a fair basis, and the practice of pre-registration should not be encouraged."

The Names Council statement was made following its meeting on the 21 September 2000, at which the Council welcomed ICANN's initiative to invite proposals for new top level domains. With the application process well under way the Names Council considers it may be helpful to the Internet community to outline the process and its associated time line.

Timeline for new TLDs

At its meeting in July 2000 in Yokohama, Japan, the Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) adopted a plan to receive and evaluate proposals to operate or sponsor new TLDs. These names will complement existing TLDs such as ".com". No selections of any new TLD strings have yet been made, nor has any decision been made regarding the number that will be introduced. The application process will close on 2 October 2000 and ICANN will publish (via its web site all applications soon afterward. Members of the Internet community will have at least a two-week period to comment on the proposals. ICANN then expects to enter into dialogue with a short-list of applicants to ensure that the growth of the Internet is undertaken in a stable and controlled 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."