Wired.com reports on a recent ICANN decision to allow domain names in non-Roman scripts. That is, domain names could be written in Arabic or Hindi, or many other scripts.
Just think what that means for the billions of people who don’t speak or write English, German, French and the other languages that use the Roman script:
Domain names can soon be registered using Chinese characters or Cyrillic script, ending the exclusivity of the Latin alphabet in top-level domain names, according to a Friday ICANN vote. …
Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO [said] “The first countries that participate … are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online — people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives.”
This is excellent news, and has been a long time coming, mainly because of the gigantic amount of work involved in making it happen. It must be a huge stumbling block for people who read and write only in non-Roman scripts.
There’s an element of danger in this though: some scripts have characters that look pretty much identical to Roman characters, but they are different. This is rather like the way a lower case ‘l’ can look like the digit ‘1’, or a 0 (zero) can look like an ‘O’.
There’s potential for the scammers here. They could send out phishing emails linking to what appears to be your bank’s website, even down to the apparently correct domain name. Once you get there though, they steal your login information as you are in fact on their rip-off site.
That means the other part of the ICANN decision is good news:
Countries with officially registered languages will get to go first through a fast-track process. Names for those domains must be composed entirely of the non-Latin characters of that particular language — no mongrel names combining scripts from separate languages will be allowed.