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Message from Ben Turner to Paul Twomey

From: Turner, Ben
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 7:42 AM
To: 'Paul Twomey'
Cc: 'Nelle Connell'; 'John Jeffrey'; 'Kurt Pritz'; Golden, Kevin; Gomes, Chuck; Lewis, Rusty
Subject: VGRS and IDN

November 15, 2003

Dr. Paul Twomey
President and CEO
International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Ref: VeriSign IDN Authorization

Dear Paul:

This letter serves as a follow-up to your conversation of November 13, 2003 with Rusty Lewis concerning the authorization for VeriSign to commercially launch its IDN program. In our letter dated October 13, 2003, we outlined the specific implementation points for each guideline of the RFC's. Per your request, this letter summarizes the key elements of our implementation.

VeriSign would like to deploy systems that accept registrations according the RFC's in December 2003. Until April 2004, VeriSign will permit registrars to continue to send registrations to the registry in the old format to accommodate their development schedule. However, no RACE registrations will be submitted to the SRS. VeriSign will convert these RACE registrations to the IDN standards prior to committing a registration to the SRS. The migration window will end in April 2004 when all registrars will be required to submit registrations in the identified RFC format.

On December 2003, all registration submissions will be required to contain a language tag. At launch, VeriSign will be associating each registration with only one language. Each Registrar will be permitted to select a default language tag such that they do not have to integrate the language tag for their registrants into their purchase flow. This default language tag will not be permitted to be "none".

VeriSign's IDN marketing and promotional support will be concentrated upon Korea, Japan, China and those countries in which the local country NIC has launched their IDN program.

As of April 2004, VeriSign will open OTE for Registrars which will include changes to the December implementation as follows:

  • Addition of language tables which are publicly available
  • A language tag submission of "none" will not be accepted.
  • Registrars will be required to provide the registrant with the ability to select a specific language and the registrar must pass that tag to VeriSign.

We look forward to receiving ICANN's authorization to implement PUNY code in our IDN program as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have questions.


Ben Turner
Vice President
VeriSign Naming Services

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."