Internationalized Domain Names: Myths and Oppportunities

4 December 2008 - A Workshop on Critical Internet Resources in Hyderabad, India


Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) provide an important component of a general strategy for making the Internet, and its identifiers, accessible to a broad range of populations, including populations who are not comfortable using the Roman-based writing systems. Despite their importance and the many discussions in the last several years, IDNs are to some extend poorly understood. Some of the discussions have ignored important IDN properties and capabilities, while others have assumed a potential for solving some problems that IDNs cannot provide. IDNs were first standardized and deployed in 2003. In the last several years a number of operational difficulties have been discovered with the IDNA technical standard and associated model. A revision of the standard is being developed in the IETF that will address some of those difficulties but that will involve some marginal changes to possible IDNs and their use. This workshop will review IDNs and how they relate to more traditional domain names. We will explore how those relationships and the characteristics of the domain name system itself create new possibilities for broader Internet accessibility. Finally, we will discuss the effect the proposed standard changes have on additional scripts and mnemonics and on applicability of possible existing registrations.

Tina Dam, ICANN

  • IETF
  • Representatives involved in efforts currently ongoing to review and solve technical related issues concerning some scripts and languages. There are efforts taking place in local communities and for example in some instances with coordination across language groups that share the same script. Several groups are emerging currently and will be invited, one example of such is the newly formed ASIWG that is focusing on the Arabic script.
  • Representatives in relation to the policy areas involved. These are multistakeholders that are involved in developing policies and processes that are necessary to deploy IDN TLDs. These representatives will be drawn from ccNSO, GNSO, GAC and ALAC, and these supporting organizations and advisory committees are actively developing the mentioned policies.
  • Representatives of the end user community in Asia Pacific (APRALO), a region where there is a huge demand for IDNs.
  • Most of the speakers have been specified and some have confirmed willingness to participate.


  • Chris Disspain, .auDA
  • Hong Xue, APRALO
  • Manal Ismail, Government of Egypt
  • Patrik Fältström, Cisco Systems
  • Ram Mohan, Afilias

The organizers will include ICANN, ALAC (At-Large Advisory Committee), and APRALO (Asia Pacific Regional At-Large Organization). As can be seen from the speakers proposed above, the organizers are keen to ensure a multistakeholder, and geographic diversity and gender balance for this workshop.