June 2nd, 2015
Recently, there have been a lot of noise about China tightening control on new top levels and how it could severely damper domain names registrations in China and one should make preparation for the worst.
Initially, I tried to stay out of this as I know all the players behind this. But given there are at least 3 people who have email me to ask me what’s going on, I think let me clear the air here.
It started with a report by Brandma on China’s “Special Operation” to regulate Domain Name Registrations which warns that “Getting the license requires understanding on how the regulatory system works and how one should respond as it evolves. It’s also like a mini ICANN application process, but this time in Mandarin.”
Contrary to these “doomsayer” report, there is really no need to panic.
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August 6th, 2014
But all that could change. In 2012, an organization called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created a new email standard that supports addresses with non-Latin and accented Latin characters (e.g. 武＠メール.グーグル). In order for this standard to become a reality, every email provider and every website that asks you for your email address must adopt it. That’s obviously a tough hill to climb. The technology is there, but someone has to take the first step.
Today we’re ready to be that someone. Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognize addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters. This means Gmail users can send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses. Of course, this is just a first step and there’s still a ways to go. In the future, we want to make it possible for you to use them to create Gmail accounts.
August 28th, 2007
Wohoo! Finally we getting our IDN Top Level domains :-)
Update: IDN .test Root-Zone Evaluation
Specifically, the Board approved the delegation of eleven evaluative top-level domains representing the term ‘test’ translated into: Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. Following this ICANN Board approval, the delegation request will now go through standard IANA procedures for insertion of top-level domains into the root zone. The technical evaluations of IDN TLDs and their usability in various applications will proceed following their delegation.
(Yea, I am kind of late :-)
November 22nd, 2006
A couple of news caught my attention today. With the impeding Microsoft IE 7 support of IDN, the industry has renewed its interest in IDN. Already, CircleID is buzzing with articles on IDNs in the last couple of weeks and various commenters noted that IDN registrations is expecting to go up. Look no further, it is going up. My visit to CNNIC last month confirmed they have increased the Chinese Domain Names registration by a significant portion to 300k registrations. At a prenium price (20 USD a name), Chinese Domain Names is generating as much revenue for CNNIC as the English domain names (a lot more but a lot cheaper too).
But what catch my attention is this wonder article written by Geoff Hutson on Internationalization of Internet. It is definitely a great summary covering various events surrounding IDNs.
Just two note:
1. On DNAME, I wasnt a big fan of using DNAME. I think ICANN is misguided that the DNS infrastructure cannot support too many TLDs and that using DNAME adds a level of complexity than it needs to be.
A label is a label, does not matter if it is on the 2nd level or the top level. If we dont use DNAME on 2nd level, I dont see why we need to use DNAME on the top level.
But I wont stand in the way for ICANN to experiment with DNAME IDN TLDs. Any little step forward is a step forward.
2. The article didnt mention RFC 4690 : Review and Recommendations for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). It covers a great deal of the technical complexity of IDNs, what we know works and some of the potential technical pitfalls we are concerned with in the existing system.
I wrote to Patrik and John a few weeks ago and here is what I said:
I agreed with issues raised in the doc, many of them are already
well-known before the original set of IDN RFCs was publish.
However, I think it would make sense for the system to implement a bit
longer to see whether the problem mentioned is real or just a
theortical possibility. It might also hurt the IDN progress if IETF
undertakes a review at this moment in time, as more likely then not,
implementors will then wait for the completion of the review before
further implementation gets done.
Other the minor disagreement with the timing, I applaud the work done
on RFC 4960 :-)
Patrik replied to say they have taken the timing into consideration so I left it as that.
October 13th, 2006
Arrived in Beijing yesterday. After a long jam, finally arrived in Haidian District (海淀区), put down my lungage and then head off to Minzu Hotel for dinner with Andy Jacobs who happens to be in Beijing for a company party at the Great Wall tonight.
Went to CNNIC this morning to catch up with catch up with Mao Wei and bang into Shen Yang (沈阳), the editor of the QianLong. Havent met Shen Yang since Kyoto two years ago but he got a new title now: Comittee member for WG for Blog, Internet Society of China (ISC). Apparently, they are having a meeting to discuss the “policy for blogs in China”. Wow, I want to be in that meeting! But damn, Shen Yang said ‘No way!’.
Regardless, I spend a wonderful morning with Mao Wei who gave me an update of what they are doing. They just launched a mobile keyword service, a service where you can search and look things up using SMS on mobile phone. Pretty cool but it is not making a lot of money yet. Speaking of making money, I was pleasantly surprised when Mao Wei said that Chinese IDN under .cn is making as much money for CNNIC as the English domain names. The numbers are still small (~300,000) but Chinese IDN is fetching a prenium (~20USD chinese over 3USD for english). This is mostly thanks to the support of IDN in IE7. :-)
After that, I rushed to Beijing University to have lunch with Dr. Charles Lee who is giving lecture here this week. I met up with the team of MBAs who is working with him on his new venture fund. Young and smart folks! How smart? Statistically, the chance for someone to enter Beijing University is equal to the chance for someone in Singapore to win the President Scholarship. So go figure.
After a wonderful lunch, I went over to PayEase. I think I can finally blog about this now since the deal is closed – we invested in PayEase last month. PayEase is the oldest (>7 years) e-Payment company in China supported by Beijing government with one of the largest transaction volume. It was one of the award winners of Red Herring 100 Asia 2006. I was asked to keep an eye on this investment so I catch up with the management to get a progress update. They did good this quarter! :-)
24 hours in Beijing and now I am back in the airport flying to Xiamen. Going to spend a night there before flying to Shanghai tomorrow.
July 24th, 2006
Prof. Goto gave me a copy of this book last week at the APAN meeting. It is a book about the history of IDN and the long journey we took to reach “日本語.jp”. :-)
I wish my Japanese is good enough to read it tho. But flipping through the book, I saw names and photos of almost everyone who has helped in one way or another in IDN (including myself :-).
Anyway, if you are interested, the ISBN is 9784844322603.
August 23rd, 2005
Someone left a comment asking me what’s APAN or Asia Pacific Advance Network. It is a meeting where AP network researchers get together to discussing advance networking issues and also a place where Advance Research and Education Network (AREN) (and also the GRID lately) people gather to discuss network collobration. SingAREN is the representative for Singapore in this area which is one of the reasons I am here. In fact, SingAREN is going to host APAN next year in Singapore so we have quite a big team here this time.
But like APRICOT, a lot of side meetings are also held concurrently. Just yesterday alone, I have to switch between APSTAR, IPv6 Summit and also chairing APEET and JET-Internationalized Email Address.
Incidently, for those who is interested in Internet statistics in Taiwan, you should look at the presentation Ching Chiao did at APSTAR. 14.6M Internet users, E-Commerce NTD 35b (~1b USD), 2.2M Skype, 400k blogs and 108% Mobile penetration. The last one 108% is interesting because it means many people are holding two mobile plans or more.
(Speaking of werid statistics, do you know that Japan actually has a higher broadband penetration then PC ownership? That’s a story for another day)
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August 4th, 2005
Nakayama-sensei from Tokyo University shared a very pleasant story with me this morning.
They runs a popular site called Live Eclipse that keeps track of eclipse schedule. The site also have an Japanese IDN 日食中継.jp which they publise concurrently.
On the last eclipse, 9th April, they have over 2m hits in a single day. The interesting part is 15.8%, or over 400k of the hits comes from the IDN name 日食中継.jp. This is very surprising because the data we have in the past shows very little (less then 1%) utilization of IDN. This maybe the coming of age for IDN :-)
(Please bear in mind that 15.8% resolution is despite the fact that IE still don’t have IDN support – Michel told me it will be in IE 6 beta 2 ie in IE 7 release.)
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May 13th, 2005
We managed to wrap up and conclude CDNC meeting by the morning (incidently, it is a good meeting – I am glad I am here!). So we decided to visit the famous 扎嘎瀑布 (Zhaga Waterfall) in the afternoon.
(you can see Prof. Qian waving if you look at the photo carefully ;-)
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May 12th, 2005
Woke up very early for CDNC meeting but what a view to wake up to:
(click here to see outside view)
Anyway, we have a long day. But it is worth it as we achieved a lot. Looks like we going to have an exciting time ahead ;-)