Competition reigns over domain

Internet registrar Melbourne IT claims first place in the race to secure non-western domain name registrations, but server standardisation hurdles still lie ahead, competitor NetRegistry has warned.

Melbourne IT earlier this week announced it had finalised a licensing arrangement with Internet Names WorldWide, the registration arm of i-DNS (Internationalised Domain Name System), to provide registration services for domain names containing "non-arabic" figures.

The former Melbourne University operation said it would offer domain name registration services for Chinese web addresses within one month, with Japanese web address offerings to follow one month later.

However, the CEO of competitor NetRegistry, Larry Bloch, said securing rights to non-western domain names could do little to broaden the penetration of Australian websites in Asia. Most internet users relied on proxy servers to access the web, so unwittingly relied on cached site data to access even local sites, he explained. In fact, he believes it is not possible for most web surfers to access all websites with western characters in their URLs.

"If you're on an i-DNS-supported server, not everybody can read it anyway," he said. "There's no universality."

Nevertheless, NetRegistry plans to launch its own Japanese registration service in the fourth quarter, with non-western domain name registrations to follow.

Bloch said NetRegistry had already been in discussion with i-DNS for "a couple of months" and had secured the rights to Japanese domain names ending in .jp.com - an alternative to Japan's existing 150,000 .com.jp domain names.

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