|What is an Internationalized Domain Name?
Internationalized Domain Names are domain names that use national characters. The national domain name is followed by either .com or .net.
Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) are in your own language. Until recently, web browsers and email clients could not handle these kind of domains.
How does this affect you?
If your company name consists of characters not in the english language you can now use your real name on the net. You no longer have to change your name to fit the web. The web has instead changed to fit you.
You may now secure your trademarks in the languages you think is relevant.
How are the international characters handled?
The DNS protocol is 7 bits and can not handle characters outside the english language. To get around this, IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) have a method of converting IDN domains to ordinary ASCII domains. This is converted on the client side and this is why all software using IDN domains, must be upgraded.
The standard of IDN domains, punycode, is now ready which means that more and more applications are supporting IDN domains. We have developed a punycode converter which lets you convert domain names to punycode easily.
Terminology for Internationalized Domain Names.
Script - A script is a collection of symbols used to represent text information in a language. Examples of scripts are; Arabic, latin or Han.
written language - A written language is a system containing characters from one or more scripts. Examples on written languages are: english, french, swedish, russian.
Since scripts can be used by more than one language, the domain does not have to be registered with the specific written language but can be registered as a combination of characters from several scripts.
What aplications have support for IDN domains?
For IDN domains to work with Internet Explorer today, a plugin (i-nav) have to be installed on the client side. This plugin is developed by Verisign Global Registry Services which is the largest player behind Internationalized Domain Names.
Netscape 7.1/Mozilla 1.4
Mozilla is the first web browser with built in support for IDN domains.
From the preview version of Opera 7.20 (released july 22- 2003) there is support for IDN domains.
In cooperation with Verisign, KDE/Konqueror has support for IDN domains.
Verisign has now released the i-NavOutlook which makes it possible to send and receive emails with IDN-domains.
This is the largest email client in China and it has support for IDN domains.