If you are reading this site in English you may not realize that those using other languages do not have everything, such as domains, available in their native language. ICANN is the governing authority. ICANN was formed in 1998 and stands for the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers just added additional top level domains.
For the first time domains, known as ccTLD or Top Level Domains, will have non-Latin characters. It began this month, May 2010, when these country code top level domains were inserted in the DNS root zone. The countries are
- Egypt: مصر (Egypt)
- Saudi Arabia: السعودية (AlSaudiah)
- United Arab Emirates: امارات (Emarat)
To date there has been a total of 21 requests for new top level domains representing 11 languages. Thirteen of them have successfully passed through what ICANN calls their “String Evaluation” (the second stage of the process) and are ready for the final stage of the process when the requesting country or territory initiates the request for TLD Delegation.
From the ICANN press release, as you can see there is a large population that can benefit from this:
Arabic has now become the first non-Latin script to be used as an IDN ccTLD. Arabic is among the most highly used languages on the Internet today. The Middle-East has an average Internet penetration of just over 20%, and shows a big potential for growth. Users in the region will now have easier access to the Internet, with the ability to use their primary language for the entire domain name.