Purpose: The Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) Implementation Guidelines relate to the IDN registration policies and practices, designed to minimize the risk of cybersquatting and consumer confusion, to cater to the interests of communities using local languages and scripts. Following the Call for Community Experts, a Working Group (WG) was formed in October 2015 to review the current version (3.0) of the IDN Implementation Guidelines, last updated in 2011. The WG updated the Guidelines and conducted the first public comment on them in March 2017.
Current Status: Based on the feedback received from the community, the WG has further updated the draft guidelines. The WG is releasing the latest draft version of the IDN Implementation Guidelines 4.0 [PDF, 316 KB] to get general feedback as well as the response to some specific queries highlighted in this draft being released.
Next Steps: The IDN Guidelines WG (IDNGWG) will review and incorporate the comments received from the community. The final version of the Guidelines published by the WG will be presented to ICANN Board of Directors for approval.
Section I: Description and Explanation
Since publication of the latest version of the Guidelines in 2011, there have been changes in the terminology around IDNs and IDN tables (e.g. see Appendix 2 of Integrated Issues Report [PDF, 2.15 MB]), as well as a definition of the machine readable format of the IDN tables called the Label Generation Ruleset (LGR). Additional analysis and data are also available, including Maximal Starting Repertoire (MSR), Root Zone Label Generation Rules, informational RFC 6912 and revised IANA IDNA tables for Unicode 6.3.0. Finally there have been recommendations for consistency and manageability of variants across different levels in a domain name, e.g. in the User Experience Study [PDF, 1.38 MB] and related SSAC comments in SAC 60 [PDF, 655 KB] report. Based on the experience with implementing IDNs accumulated since 2011, GNSO Council and its members asked ICANN to update these guidelines.
A Call for Community Experts was announced to invite volunteers to update these Guidelines in July 2015 and IDNGWG was finalized in October 2015. IDNGWG comprises of expert volunteer members from ALAC, ccNSO, GNSO and SSAC. These members have been regularly meeting since 2015, to review and updated the Guidelines. Details of the membership, email archive, call recordings and summaries of the working group meetings are available at the wiki page. IDNGWG has been interacting with the community during ICANN meetings. The WG presented the initial issues list [PDF, 334 KB] to the community at ICANN 55 and an interim draft [PDF, 314 KB] of the Guidelines at ICANN 57. Based on the feedback received, the WG developed a complete draft [PDF, 364 KB] and released it for first public comment which was presented at ICANN 58. The WG received multiple comments which have been incorporated in this latest draft [PDF, 316 KB] which is now being released for another round of public comment before finalization.
The main audience of the Guidelines is Top-Level Domain (TLD) registries that offer or plan to offer registrations of IDNs under their Registry Agreements. For other registries (e.g. Country Code Top Level Domain Name registries) this document is intended as the best current practice. These Guidelines are also intended for registrars offering registration of IDNs.
Section II: Background
The IDN Implementation Guidelines have been updated when there was a change to relevant protocols or other demand from the community, but not on a regular basis. As there are contractual obligations associated with the Guidelines, updating them may have a significant impact. To date, there have been five versions of the Guidelines, available through the link: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/implementation-guidelines-2012-02-25-en. The current Version 3.0 was developed through a community based effort and finalized on 2 September 2011. This was endorsed by the ICANN Board of Directors on 28 October 2011.
Section III: Relevant Resources
- Initial draft of IDN Implementation Guidelines for first public comment call: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/draft-idn-guidelines-03mar17-en.pdf [PDF, 364 KB]
- First public comment call: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/idn-guidelines-2017-03-03-en
- Current and previous versions of IDN Implementation Guidelines: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/implementation-guidelines-2012-02-25-en
- Wiki page for the working group: https://community.icann.org/display/IDN/IDN+Implementation+Guidelines