(Anche in italiano?) [reuters] VeriSign opens Web database to 70 new languages

Andy Mueller-Maguhn (by way of chiari mario <chiari.hm@flashnet.it>) andy a CCC.DE
Sab 3 Mar 2001 10:56:16 CET


VeriSign opens Web database to 70 new languages

ERIC LAI

Reuters

February 26, 2001

Now, speakers of Euskara and Tibetan can register their Internet domain
names in their native tongues.

In a move that further opens up the Internet to non-native English
speakers, VeriSign Inc. (VRSN.O) on Monday opened up registrations for
Internet domain names in more than 70 additional, mostly-European
languages.

Internet users will be able to choose Web site and e-mail addresses that
use special letters, accents and marks particular to Western European
languages such as French, German, and Spanish, to supplement the standard
Roman letters and numbers currently used.

Internet infrastructure and security provider VeriSign is also adding Web
domain names using Greek and Cyrillic alphabets, such as used by Russian
speakers, which were absent before from its worldwide database of domain
names.

Some of the more esoteric languages that VeriSign now supports include
Euskara, spoken by the Basque people in Spain; Pinyin, which is Mandarin
Chinese written using Roman letters and tonal marks instead of Chinese
characters; and Esperanto, the 'universal' language created in the 19th
century by a Polish linguist.

The latest batch of multilingual domain names by Mountain View,
Calif.-based VeriSign follows on the company's launch of Chinese, Japanese
and Korean language domain names four months ago.

More than 800,000 Web domains in these Asian languages have been registered
by individuals and businesses, as well as speculators hoping to sell off
choice Web addresses at high prices. These domains are still being tested,
meaning that users cannot yet access Web sites in Asian languages.

MULTILINGUALS HAVE SOWN CONFLICT

The new multilingual domains could help reverse the perception -- and
reality -- that the Internet remains an English-centric medium.

As many as eight in ten Web sites primarily feature English-language
content, despite the fact that native English speakers only make up about 7
percent of the global population.

For VeriSign, which acquired this database, or registry, of domain names
when it bought Network Solutions Inc. last year for $21 billion, the new
domains offer a fresh market as registrations of English domain names slow
down.

There are more than 28 million top-level domain names, which mostly end in
.com, .net, and .org. Registrations have slowed, though, as few desirable,
easy-to-type domain names remain unregistered.

But launching multilingual domain names has not been a smooth process for
VeriSign.

When the company announced last fall that it was testing the new
multilingual domain name technology, it elicited protests from some members
of ICANN, the global governing body overseeing domain name policies, who
said they had not been properly consulted.

Meanwhile, Chinese Internet policy officials, who were introducing their
own version of Web site names in Chinese, accused VeriSign of infringing
upon its national rights.

The Chinese system allowed the entire domain name, including the ``.com''
portion, to be written in Chinese, which they claimed was superior to
VeriSign's system, which leaves the suffix -- i.e. ``.com,'' ``.net,'' and
``.org'' -- in English. That conflict appears to have been settled by the
two parties.

RARE LANGUAGES NOW ALSO SUPPORTED

Users can now only register and pay for the domain names, which will be
priced about $30 per year -- about the same as English-language domain
names, according to VeriSign spokesman, Brian O'Shaughnessy, who said there
was no set date for when the new Web domains would go live.

But Register.com Inc. (RCOM.O) said it had already registered ''thousands''
of the new domains starting over the weekend, according to spokeswoman
Shonna Keogan.

In late March, Internet users will be able to begin registering domain
names in Southeast Asian languages such as Lao, Thai and Tibetan. In late
April, VeriSign will begin taking applications for registrants of Web
domains in several Middle Eastern languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew.



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