My latest article is now up on The Industry Standard – “Chinese, Arabic and Hindi domain names to go up for sale – finally!” The post discusses the recent domain name news from ICANN, specifically, the announcement that International Domain Names (IDNs) will soon be available in non-Roman languages.
To this point in history, domain names have all been in Roman characters. The reasons for this are explained in the article, so I won’t go into them again here, but I just can’t emphasize enough the impact that this new resolution is going to have on the Internet. Let’s put it this way - if you don’t speak Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Hindi or Arabic, you might want to start learning. English is on the decline, and although it is still the primary language of business, this recent announcement is just continuing to solidify the importance of the rest of the global community on the future of the Internet.
The following are some interesting facts & figures that I came across during my research:
- “The German ccTLD (.de) remains the largest ccTLD in terms of the total base of domain name registrations, with .cn and .uk as the next largest ccTLDs. Quarter over quarter, .de grew 2%, .uk grew 4% and .cn grew 23%. When viewed year over year, .cn’s growth at 199% outpaced both .de (11%) and .uk (16%).” From VeriSign’s Domain Name Industry Brief (pdf)
- In China, over 80% of the population cannot speak English. – ICANN
- 92% of the world’s population does not speak English. -ICANN
- By 2050, more people will speak Chinese, Hindi (and its close relative, Urdu) or Arabic as a first language than English. -EurekAlert
- The languages growing the most rapidly are Bengali, Tamil and Malay, which are spoken in various countries in South and Southeast Asia. -EurekAlert
- The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is currently testing the new ccTLDs – here is what some of them will look like:
I can’t help but get the feeling that the United States’ days are numbered in terms of its dominance of all things Internet.
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