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24.10.2013 - UNESCOPRESS

Internationalized Domain Names still to reach full potential

– Despite important advances more work is needed by all parties if Internationalized domain names are to foster the growth of multilingualism online, according to the 2013 EURid-UNESCO World Report on Internationalized Domain Names published today with the support of Verisign.

The Report was presented at the Internet Governance Forum 2013 (IGF), in Bali, Indonesia, on 24 October.

Internationalized domain names (IDNs) are those that include characters from non-Latin scripts, such as Cyrillic or Arabic.

According to the Report only 2% of the world’s registered domain names are IDNs.  This slow uptake is in stark contrast to the burgeoning of multilingual online content.

Improving usability in web-based email and services

Most if not all IDN implementations underperform because of poor user awareness and experience, which lead to poor uptake.

However, where IDNs are used, there is a 99% correlation between the language or script of the domain name and the language of associated website content, a clear indication that IDNs have a vital part to play in fostering a multilingual internet.

"Languages are who we are,” stated Janis Karklins, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information in the Report’s Foreword.  “By protecting them, we protect ourselves; by promoting them, we sustain cultural diversity. This must be true also for cyberspace. To have maximum impact, to be sustainable and to be beneficial to all, cyberspace must be inclusive. Every woman and every man should be able to speak and write in their mother tongue, and this is why Internationalized Domains Names, IDNs, are so important.”

The future of IDNs

The launch of new IDN generic top level domains (gTLDs) in late 2013, early 2014, particularly the large number of top-level domains using Chinese characters, is expected to boost the market, providing an incentive for investors to update Internet infrastructure and improve user experience on popular web applications in order to access potentially valuable markets.  The new gTLDs may also help to raise end users’ awareness that domain names can be in languages other than English.

The statistics presented in the 2013 EURid –UNESCO World Report are based on a data set of 228 million domain names. They include detailed information on how over one million IDNs from the .com, .net and .eu registers are used.  The report also includes case studies of the IDN country code Top Level Domain (ccTLDs such as .uk, .fr, or .es,) registry experiences from the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Russian Federation.

Download the full report at www.eurid.eu.

About .eu and EURid

The .eu domain ranks among the largest top-level domains in the world, connecting 500 million people in 28 EU countries to one Internet identity. More than 3.5 million .eu names have been registered since the domain opened in 2005. Many companies and brands—including the likes of Fairtrade International, Foot Locker, Louis Vuitton, the MAN Group, Microsoft Corporation, Orangina and Toyota–use a .eu website as a practical way to express a clear European identity or  European marketing strategy..

EURid is the not-for-profit organization that operates the .eu top-level domain, following a tender process and appointment by the European Commission. EURid works with over 750 accredited registrars and provides support in the 24 official EU languages. EURid is registered by the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which is an expression of EURid’s environmental commitment. EURid has its headquarters in Brussels (Belgium), and regional offices in Pisa (Italy), Prague (the Czech Republic) and Stockholm (Sweden). More information at: http://www.eurid.eu.


Media contact:s


Email: press(at)eurid.eu

Press room: http://www.eurid.eu/en/press-room     

UNESCO: Sue Williams

Chief, Media Relations Section

Division of Public Information UNESCO

Phone: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 06

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