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Differences Between IDN and Keywords

IDNs are Domain Names that are in native-language characters. Like regular ASCII domain names, IDNs reside on the traditional Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure and therefore, every query returns a definite and unique result.

"Keywords" are not domain names. Rather, they exist as an additional layer above the DNS. Therefore, whilst domain names only require the use of the Internet's DNS resolution infrastructure, keyword-based solutions also require a "URL Forwarding" technique to map simple references/names/phrases to domain names or IP addresses.

As a pre-requisite to using "keywords", each resolvable domain name is registered in a keyword-based directory in addition to the DNS registry. The keyword directory is searched during the "look up" process, and matches in the keyword registry are used to locate a particular URL or a list of matching sites under that particular keyword.

Whilst it may superficially appear that they are similar, consumers need to note that both IDNs and Keyword services operate on different levels. Only IDN provide the full user experience as required by market demands for IDN solutions that:

  • are IETF-compliant
  • retain the native language script after resolution (thereby facilitating brand awareness for a native language web address on the URL bar)
  • work across all established Internet protocols and commonly used applications (ie, like email)
  • support hyperlinks

As service offerings however, both IDN and "Keywords" provide useful and complementary dimensions to website accessibility.

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