Universal Acceptance is a foundational requirement for a truly multilingual Internet, one in which users around the world can navigate entirely in local languages. It is also the key to unlocking the potential of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to foster competition, consumer choice and innovation in the domain name industry. To achieve Universal Acceptance, Internet applications and systems must treat all TLDs in a consistent manner, including new gTLDs and internationalized TLDs. Specifically, they must accept, validate, store, process and display all domain names.
The Universal Acceptance Steering Group is a community-based team working to share this vision for the Internet of the future with those who construct this space: coders. The group's primary objective is to help software developers and website owners understand how to update their systems to keep pace with an evolving Domain Name System. It's primary message is that Universal Acceptance will enable the next billion users to build their own spaces and identities online.
For resources and information, visit https://uasg.tech/.
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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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
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
Pre 2000 – 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).
2000 – Generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion approved in 2000 and again in 2003 – broke assumptions about TLD validity in regard to name length.
- 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 achieved when any person can register and use a domain name in any top-level domain in widely-distributed web browsers, email clients and mobile apps, and when setting up online accounts.
September 2015 – An Analysis of New gTLD Universal Acceptance in the Web Environment
March 2015 – Universal Acceptance Steering Group Charter
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|