[menog] New Arabic TLD and idea's popularity

Fahd Batayneh fahd.batayneh at icann.org
Mon Oct 28 17:12:33 UTC 2013

Thanks Ahmed.


Being the previous ccTLD / IDN ccTLD Manager of both Jordanian TLDs (.jo and .الاردن), I can confirm that lack of marketing is one of the main reasons Jordan’s IDN ccTLD has not gained interest. This is the case in some other Arab countries.


I do agree though that writing Arabic transliterated domain names (such as “Tamkien”) becomes an issue when trying to spell it out (one has to make many guesses, or ends up using a search engine). It becomes much easier when writing in Arabic تمكين.الاردن, though.




From: Ahmed Abu-Abed [mailto:ahmed at tamkien.com] 
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 7:37 AM
To: Fahd Batayneh
Cc: menog at menog.net
Subject: Re: [menog] New Arabic TLD and idea's popularity


Hi Fahd,


Thanks for your valuable input, stats and first hand experience !

It would be interesting to know how many out of the thousands of Arabic IDN registrations have actually gone live ? And for non-government ?


Most locals got to a newspaper website, or some form of online news, in the morning, and read it in Arabic. I can see them preferring to input something like جريدة.الاردن  (a hypothetical name, equivalent to newspaper.jordan) . The reason its not happening is likely that the idea has not been marketed and the locals are not aware that this option can exist, i.e. its more social and political rather than technical. Once there is acceptance and demand for the basic IDN concept then standards can come to solve email, online banking and service issues.






From: Fahd Batayneh <mailto:fahd.batayneh at icann.org>  

Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 12:14 AM

To: Ahmed Abu-Abed <mailto:ahmed at tamkien.com>  

Cc: menog at menog.net 

Subject: RE: [menog] New Arabic TLD and idea's popularity


Hi Ahmed,


Yes, ICANN delegated the first four TLDs (all 4 are IDNs with 1 Arabic, 1 Chinese, and 2 Cyrillic) on October 23, and more is expected to be delegated in the coming weeks. In terms of web browsers, all new browsers support IDN URLs in all scripts. Some TLDs might face some problems with some web browsers, and these can be solved on 1-to-1 basis. Even some of the new ASCII TLDs need to resolve any pending issues with web browser developers (such as .sx and .ss). Overall, all web browser vendors/developers are keeping an eye on the New gTLD program so that they can update their whitelists accordingly.


>From my discussions with IDN ccTLDs in the region, I believe Egypt has the largest IDN ccTLD base with more than 3,000 registrations. Saudi Arabia and UAE have 2,000+. Some of the stumbling blocks that keep IDN registrations low are the following:


·         Strict registrations policies by Registries; or

·         High pricing; or

·         Preference in communicating over ASCII TLDs (I have heard tones such as “What is the added value in an IDN TLD?” or “The majority of my clients do not speak Arabic” or “Arabic?! Really?!”); or

·         Lack of interest in IDNs since IDNs do not support global email exchange, SSL certificates, and many other online services (this is what the most complained of).


You mentioned some of the major portals such as Google and Yahoo!. Well, if they have IDN registrations, they are mostly defensive registrations; i.e. to protect their trademark(s) from being cyber-squatted and/or infringed.


I guess with the rollout of New gTLDs, much of the behavior we experience online will change gradually, so let us see how will major brand owners react to this. Furthermore, vendors such as Google (applicant of .google, amongst others) and Microsoft (applicant of .microsoft, amongst others) are expected to move their online presence to their own TLDs.


Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are discussions within the ICANN community to block registration of domain names that represent currently applied for TLDs (e.g. applicant of the TLD .abc gets abc.whatever blocked from any future registrations).



(speaking in my personal capacity)


From: menog-bounces at lists.menog.org [mailto:menog-bounces at lists.menog.org] On Behalf Of Ahmed Abu-Abed
Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2013 11:54 AM
To: 'menog at menog. net'
Subject: [menog] New Arabic TLD and idea's popularity


ICANN is in the news with the new شبكة  TLD, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24637673


I am yet to see Arabic TLDs widely implemented, although most browsers are ready, even on iOS and Android which I tested with an Arabic URL. Any idea on why is the delay in implementing Arabic URL by content providers (newspapers, etc.) ? People in the region prefer Arabic websites, so I am wondering what’s stopping content providers from having Arabic URLs.


Also, anyone know if major portals, like Google or Yahoo, have implemented IDNs in any language for their URL ? Something like ياهو.شبكة  (which translates to Yahoo.net , as I cannot find an equivalent to .com as an Arabic TLD).


Best Regards,

Ahmed Abu-Abed

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