In August, VeriSign Global Registry Services - the world's largest domain- name seller and the steward of the critical .com registry - announced that it would open a "test bed" period for other Internet registrars to begin registering names using Japanese, Korean and Chinese characters.
The first phase of that project begins Friday when VeriSign Global Registry Services (formerly Network Solutions Inc.) will start accepting registrations for foreign-character names.
Currently Internet users can only register names using digits and English- language characters - an unfortunate circumstance for the more than 90 percent of the of the world's population that doesn't speak English as a first language, VeriSign spokesperson Brian O'Shaughnessy said today.
Offering domain names in other languages "is a great business opportunity, but it is also a step toward making the Internet a truly global medium," O'Shaughnessy said on the eve of the test-bed period.
While some in the Internet engineering community have expressed concern that the addition of protocols designed to resolve non-English characters could threaten the stability of the all-important DNS, VeriSign says that the pilot project will have no adverse effects.
VeriSign is "extremely confident" that the test-bed period will go off without a hitch and that the new protocols will not in any way jeopardize DNS stability, O'Shaughnessy said.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - which is charged with governing the DNS decision-making process - lent cautious support to the VeriSign project in August, when ICANN officials said they supported the "principle" of an internationalized DNS.
While ICANN announced that it intended to "monitor closely the implementation of non-English language character sets" in the DNS, the organization does not intend to stand in the way of the VeriSign test bed.
After VeriSign has an opportunity to gauge the success of the Chinese, Korean and Japanese character offerings, the company intends to move forward with allowing registrations using Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish character sets, O'Shaughnessy said.
Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com