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Although a large number of ccTLD registries offer IDNs (approximately 84%), the actual number of registrations usually represents only a small portion of their overall domain holdings. In comparison to an estimated comprehensive domain
Recently, a professional domain platform overseas released its 2023 report. They pointed out that for internationalized domain names to continue being a viable choice, especially for emerging economies, there needs to be an increase in people's awareness of internationalized domain names. In 2022, there was a negative growth in the registration of IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names), with a median growth rate of 0.1%, while the growth rate for the top 300 global top-level domains (TLDs) was 3.4%. Below are the key data:
1. 84% of ccTLDs (Country Code Top-Level Domains) support IDN registrations through an additional registry and are prepared to initiate.
2. There are an estimated 2.9 million IDN registrations under ccTLDs.
3. For the 12 months up to January 2023, the median growth rate of IDN registrations in national ccTLDs was -0.1% (sample: 40 ccTLDs), which is a decline from the previous year's growth rate of 2.5%.
4. For the 12 months up to January 2023, the estimated number of IDN registrations under gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) was 1.4 million, with a median growth rate of 1.91% (sample: 282 gTLDs).
5. Latin characters are the most common script provided by ccTLDs in the sample set.
6. 74 registries support second-level IDN registrations, and an additional 5 are preparing to offer support.
7. 17 registries simultaneously provide IDN and xn-- forms in WHOIS at port 43; 14 registries provide both in RDAP, and 29 registries provide both in web-based WHOIS.
8. 65 registries do not support Homoglyph construction.
9. Registry operators rated support from registrars as 4 out of 5 (5 being the highest). This is an improvement from the previous year's score of 3.1.
10. Registry operators rated end-user awareness of IDNs as 2.5 out of 5. This is an increase from the previous year's score of 2.2.
Figure 1. IDN statistics in ccTLDs.
Data source: CENTR, APTLD, Zooknic.
Adoption and Awareness
Although a large number of ccTLD registries offer IDNs (approximately 84%), the actual number of registrations usually represents only a small portion of their overall domain holdings. In comparison to an estimated comprehensive domain market of about 360 million domains, IDN domains make up less than 1%. This doesn't necessarily indicate the failure of IDN registrations but rather reflects how the internet evolved from primarily Latin-based Western origins. Nevertheless, for internationalized domain names to continue being a viable choice, particularly for emerging economies, increased awareness among people about internationalized domain names is necessary.
What are Internationalised Domain Names?
Domain names, which are a core part of the Internet’s addressing system, work because they are interoperable and resolve uniquely. This means that any user connected to the Internet, anywhere in the world, can get to the same destination by typing in a domain name (as part of a web- or email address). The plan to internationalise the character sets supported within the Domain Name System is almost as old as the Internet itself. However, technical constraints and the overriding priority of interoperability resulted in a restricted character set within the Domain Name System: ASCII a to z, 0 to 9 and the hyphen. This restricted character set is known as LDH (Letters, Digits and Hyphen) within the technical community.
Technical standards to internationalise domain names were developed from the mid-1990s. The solution retains the Domain Name System’s restricted character set, and transliterates every other character into it. Each series of non-ASCII characters is transliterated into a string of ASCII characters prefixed with xn– . The xn– ASCII forms of the domain names are meaningless to humans, but meaningful to machines (name servers) that resolve domain names. Thus, humans see the meaningful, transliterated characters when they navigate the Internet, whilst the underlying technical resolution of domain names remains unchanged.
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