SHARM El SHEIKH - With the launch of the Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) ccTLD Fast Track Process by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Egyptian Minister of Communications Tarek Kamel revealed that Egypt will open the world's first Arabic language internet domain.
As of November 16, 2009, ICANN started to accept requests from representatives of countries and territories around the world for new Internet extensions that represent their country name and are made up of non-Roman characters.
Addressing the attendees at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) being held November 15-18, 2009 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Minister Kamel said the new domain name would be ".misr" written in the Arabic alphabet, which is translated as ".Egypt".
"It is a great moment for us... The internet now speaks Arabic," he said.
The Minister believes that the new domain would allow for new means of innovation, investment and growth throughout the Arabic-speaking world.
Once the requests for IDN ccTLDs are evaluated and approved, Internet extensions are expected to come online in many countries during 2010 onwards.
Egypt currently has 15 million internet users out of a total population of 80 million.
But international rights groups have warned of heavy government censorship inside the country, with several bloggers and political dissidents being arrested for "security reasons". On Sunday the Reporters Without Borders group criticised the choice of Egypt as venue for the IGF, saying it was "astonishing" that a government openly hostile to internet users had been assigned its organisation.
The forum, set up by the UN, is being attended by more than 1,000 participants including government ministers, businesspeople and net luminaries.
Safenames Ltd will be one of the first registrars to provide internet addresses in Arabic script.
Safenames Ltd was established to provide international businesses with a full range of domain name services, including domain registrations, renewals, and transfers in every country around the world that has a domain name suffix. Safenames are currently working with many international businesses to help plan an effective domain strategy, as IDNs will open the door to many more languages and a gateway to millions of internet users.
It's important to note that ICANN will not accept direct registration applications for second-level domain names – the part before the Internet extension or suffix – from individuals, companies, or organizations. The ability for people to get a domain name in their language will come later – through a process determined by the entity that successfully applies for an IDN country-code top-level.
To find out more about IDN domain names, and how to adopt an IDN strategy, please contact us.