First non-Latin domain names approved by ICANN

Photo by Marco Bellucci
Egypt goes live with Arabic domain names.

Last Fall, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) authorized the use of top level domain names that use non-Latin characters, and the first Arabic character domain names went live this week. Read about it in ICANN’s blog. There’s a good video clip there that explains the importance of IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) to billions of people.

This won’t affect most of us who are already Internet users, but it will open the Internet to masses of people who read and write only in Arabic, Farsi, and other languages with non-Latin characters. Now they’ll be able to use keyboards with local characters to access the Internet.

My guess is that some of these domains will point to existing Latin character domains.

Yes, Arabic domain names will read from right to left. If you want to view them from a US English Windows computer, you’ll need to load an Arabic font. (These fonts are available on your Windows CD-ROM or DVD.)

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