Asian, Arabic and Russian Characters In Domains Soon: What Does It Mean

ICANN announced it will start allowing domains to be registered using non-Latin characters (English etc.) starting Nov. 16. The news was released during a meeting in Seoul on Friday, Reuters reported.

The news is important as it will see the registration of thousands if not millions of language specific domains. Previously, all domains were basically in English - not quite appropriate for a world wide web.

As the Independent noted:

"Considering it is known as the "World Wide web", the internet's reliance on the English language has long been maligned as a hangover from the web's beginnings as a communications tool for the US military."

"100,000 new characters are expected to be added, in a multitude of languages including Mandarin, Russian and Hebrew," according to the Independent.

No doubt there will be a stampede to register domains like the Oklahoma Land Rush of the the appropriatedly named "Unassigned Lands."

This move also shows a loosening of US control over ICANN and "most striking about the development is the symbolic shifting of power underpinning the web, which comes at a time that America's economic power around the world is diminishing. With Chinese web users now outnumbering their American counterparts, commentators will see this change as another step in the gradual de-Americanisation of the internet."

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.