A new domain registration service means characters before the dot in a domain name can now be in the language of the country of origin, in combination with the suffix '.com'.
Melbourne IT, through its subsidiary Internet Names World Wide (INWW) has launched its 'multilingual.com' service. The company planned to start registrations for domain names using Japanese and Korean characters (with the '.com' suffix) at midnight (GMT) from November 10 2000. The company announced Chinese name registrations at the end of October 2000.
Clive Flory, president international for INWW, said: "Literally hundreds of thousands of key generic words in each of the languages, as well as lucky numbers and combinations thereof, will be available.
"The registration service will help further develop the adoption of the Internet amongst these non English speaking markets and enable businesses from these countries to present their company name and brand in Internet addresses in their own language. Furthermore, it will enable individuals to have their personal e-mail address in the language of their choice."
This announcement follows VeriSign Global Registry's announcement that its multilingual domain name registry opened on November 10 2000. However, its initial registration phase will be a 'test bed' and all names registered should be considered provisional.
The registry will accept registrations from its global network of resellers in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.
"This will create a world of new e-commerce opportunities, without the restrictions of using English language domain names in non English speaking countries," Flory said.
The registry is working with the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF) for the full development of domain name standards. A small number of names may become invalid as standards develop, and the registry has advised INWW that resolution of domain names will not be available at this stage. This means that although a name can be registered, it cannot be used as a locator for the Internet. Melbourne IT officials said the registry will address this issue shortly.
The registry has also confirmed that the current uniform dispute resolution process (UDRP) will apply to the new language domain spaces, to protect company trading names in each of the new languages.