Network Solutions (NSI) Registry is a division of US-based Network Solutions, one of the biggest domain name registrars in the world. 3GNIC stands for 3rd Generation Network Information Centre, and is a self-proclaimed official registrar of internationalized Chinese domain names in Hong Kong.
NSI Registry will allow the registration of multilingual domain names with more than 60 ICANN accredited registrars around the world within the next few months. But 3GNIC is just one of several registrars in a somewhat confusing market with incompatible Chinese domain name systems such as those offered by CNNIC (China Network Information Centre) and TWNIC (Taiwan Network Information Centre). The deal with NSI is a step towards some kind of consolidation however.
"Regardless of other parties who have announced various Chinese domain names systems over the last few months, i-DNS.net remains the only operational and productive multilingual domain name registry not only in Hong Kong, but in the world offering languages like Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Thai and Indian languages," exclaimed Wong Heng Wai, director of Web services for 3GNIC. "With i-DNS's language-independent technology and Network Solution's adoption of the i-DNS solution for multilingual domain names, the internationalized Chinese domain name system is set to become a universal standard and will soon be usable internationally."
Since the introduction of the registration service seven months ago in Hong Kong, 3GNIC has had various enquiries from the public to purchase desired Chinese domain names that have already been registered by others, for as much as HK$500,000. "To maintain 3GNIC's position as a neutral registrar, we have turned down all such enquiries," said Wong.
Wong says that he foresees that the deal with NSI will spark off a wave of speculation in Chinese domain names. "We are currently working with recognized arbitration associations in the region to develop a central source for Chinese domain name dispute resolution that we hope will resolve some of the issues that our registrants will face.
" Domain names in general have always been a highly speculative Internet commodity, especially with popular names such as business.com selling for around US$7.5million. The potential for generating quick cash has seen cybersquatters swooping on the names of famous celebrities such as Madonna and Julia Roberts much to the chagrin of the stars and their agents. While many domain disputes have been settled by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) with regards to US domain names, there is no such recourse for people or companies claiming intellectual property rights to Chinese domain names.
Companies such as 3GNIC also have a serious credibility problem to overcome. When Chinese domain names where first introduced by the company in Hong Kong, its officials openly boasted that they had reserved the domain names of major brands to protect their intellectual property. If Network Solutions did the same, there would be an international outcry. The Chinese domain names system still has a long way to go, the latest announcement notwithstanding.