The first-ever non-Latin language website address domains are on their way, the Internet’s overlords said today.
Online domains in which website addresses would end with words in Chinese, Russian, or Cyrillic have been approved, according to the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Online neighborhoods with addresses ending in the Chinese word for “game;” the Arabic word for “web” or “network,” or the Cyrillic words for “cite” and “online,” have been cleared and more should quickly follow suit, ICANN said.
Top level domains have historically been English-language terms such as “.com” or “.gov.”
Those cleared to manage new domains must now give companies or organisations with trademark claims the first chance at registering website addresses.
The “sunrise” period should be over in about 60 days and the domains open for anyone to register websites with registrars that essentially act as domain name wholesalers, according to ICANN.
The change naming “greater top level domains” is expected to expand the number from fewer than two dozen to more than a thousand.
ICANN is considering more than 1,800 requests for new web address endings, ranging from the general such as “.shop” to the highly specialized like “.motorcycles.”
Many of the requests are from large companies such as Apple, Mitsubishi and IBM — with Internet giant Google alone applying for more than 100, including .google, .YouTube, and .lol — Internet slang for “laugh out loud.”
California-based ICANN says the huge expansion of the Internet, with some two billion users around the world, half of them in Asia, means new names are essential.