14 September 2015 – ICANN Announces Results of Universal Acceptance Study for New gTLDs
New report sponsored by ICANN analyzes the acceptance of sample generic top-level domains in the domain name system.
24 March 2015 – Universal Acceptance Steering Group Publishes Charter
The Universal Acceptance Steering Group Charter is now available for review. Learn about the UASG's mission, scope, goals and more.
In the earliest days of the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS) contained a relatively small set of top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .net and .org. These were names in the ASCII character set containing three A-Z letters. Those available TLDs were later expanded to include two character Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs). In early 2001 top-level domain space grew to include names with more than three characters. In 2008 top-level domains outside the ASCII character set arrived (Chinese, Cyrillic, Arabic, etc [GC1] .) enabling a multi-lingual Internet. In 2013 the top-level domain name space began growing even more rapidly as new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) were delegated into the root zone.
Some internet services and software applications have not sufficiently evolved to properly recognize and consistently handle new gTLDs and Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), thus impeding the added benefits of user choice, user confidence and name space competition to the consumer. Software and service providers have historically been unaware of these problems or had little market or regulatory incentive to invest in solutions that would bring true interoperability to platforms or applications. A coordinated industry effort is underway to ensure a timely, practical, and continuing resolution to these changes.
Domain names in a TLD must be useable in applications regardless of the written script, length or newness of the TLD. The primary drivers for Universal Acceptance stem from the following elements:
Longer TLD Names: TLDs with names longer than three characters, such as .museum or .plumber.
Non-Latin based TLDs: TLDs with names written in scripts other than ASCII, such as Hindi, Japanese and Greek.
Rapid addition of TLDs: The New gTLD Program spurring very rapid additions of new gTLDs delegated to the root zone.
International Email: The introduction of non-ASCII names in email. While IDNs solved part of the ability to have non-ASCII names for servers, it doesn't solve the ability to have non-ASCII names for mailboxes.
Universal Acceptance Timeline
- Assumptions born: User interfaces security rules were built according to "valid" TLDs including .com, .gov, .edu, the ISO 3122 two letter codes and ASCII only email addresses (mailbox names).
- Generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion approved in 2000 and again in 2003 – broke assumptions about TLD validity in regard to name length.
- Addition of Internationalized Domain Name country code TLDs – broke assumption that TLDs must be ASCII.
- Email names extended from ASCII to UTF-8 – broke assumptions about character encoding in email systems and viewers.
- gTLD expansion approved in 2011; ICANN received 1,930 applications. October 2013 marked the beginning of hundreds of new gTLD delegations – broke assumption about "no/few" changes to Internet's root zone.
Universal Acceptance will be considered complete when any person can register and use a domain name in any top-level domain in widely distributed web browsers, email clients, mobile apps, and setting up online accounts for Internet and other services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Ask a question:
To submit questions or contribute additional material that may be helpful in overcoming these barriers, please send an email to GlobalSupport@icann.org with "Universal Acceptance" in the subject line.
Join the discussion list:
Learn more on the wiki:
ICANN's Universal Acceptance Initiative Roadmap
|2014 August||Report of Public Comments: Universal Acceptance of TLDs Draft Roadmap [PDF, 377 KB]|
|2014 June||Public Comment: Universal Acceptance of TLDs Draft Roadmap|
ICANN Presentations and Recordings
|2015 February||ICANN 52 – Singapore||Universal Acceptance Session Archive|
|2014 October||ICANN 51 – Los Angeles||Universal Acceptance Session Archive|
|2014 October||APEC EAI Workshop||Presentation [PDF, 805 KB]|
|2014 June||ICANN 50 – London||Universal Acceptance Session Archive ISPCP Presentation [PDF, 1.05 MB]|
|2014 June||CENTR Jamboree 2014||Presentation [PDF, 685 KB]|
|2014 May||APTLD Member Meeting on Universal Acceptance||Presentation [PDF, 678 KB]|
|2014 March||ICANN 49 – Singapore||Universal Acceptance Session Archive|
|2014 Feb||APRICOT 2014||Presentation [PDF, 3.20 MB]|
|2012 October||ICANN 45 – Toronto||Universal Acceptance of All TLDs Session Archive|
|2012 October||Internationalization and Unicode Conference 36||Presentation [PDF, 2.82 MB]|
|2012 June||ICANN 44 – Prague||Universal Acceptance of All TLDs Presentation [PDF, 1.23 MB]|
|2012 June||JIG IDN WG Meeting||Presentation [PDF, 1.11 MB]|
|2012 May||Registry/Registrar Meeting 2012||Presentation [PDF, 4.03 MB]|
|2012 March||ICANN 43 – Costa Rica||TLD Universal Acceptance Session Archive|
Other ICANN Material
|2015 February||Call to ICANN Community to form the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) [PDF, 166 KB]|
|Updated Continually||IANA List of Top-Level Domains|
|Updated Continually||IANA Reports on TLD (Re-) Assignments|
|2014 March||Blog Post: The TLD Universal Acceptance Project|
|2013 June||Announcement: JIG IDN WG Draft Final Report Announcement|
|2012 January||Public Comment: Initial Report on Universal Acceptance of IDN TLDs|
|2007 March||Announcement: ICANN Releases Beta-3 Version of TLD Verification Code|
|2006 December||Announcement: ICANN Releases Beta TLD Verification Tool|
|2006 March||Announcement: ICANN Creates Area on Universal Acceptance of TLDs|
|2004 December||TLD-Acceptance Discussion Forum|
|2004 October||Announcement: Universal Acceptance of all gTLD Names|
|2001 July||Policy: ICP-3: A Unique, Authoritative Root for the DNS|
|2001 July||Statement: Keeping the Internet A Reliable Global Public Resource: Response to New.net "Policy Paper"|
These reference links will lead you away from www.icann.org.
|2014||CTIC||IDN Assessment Report 2014 [PDF, 1.01 MB]|
|2014||CITC||Assessment of IDNA user experience [PDF, 4.62 MB]|
|2014||EurID||World report on IDNs 2014 [PDF, 6.19 MB]|
|2014 March||W3C||W3C Mail thread on TLD Universal Acceptance|
|2014 February||CircleID||CircleID Post on TLD operator "use case"|
|2013||EURid||World Report on IDN Deployment 2013 [PDF, 3.09 MB]|
|2012||EURid-UNESCO||World report on IDN Deployment 2012 [PDF, 4.09 MB]|
|2004 February||IETF||RFC 3696: Checking and Transformation of Names|
|2002 October||Internic||FAQs: Why Universal Resolvability is Important|