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How To Register An Internationalized Domain Name

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Thinking about registering international domain names and wondering how its done? Don’t worry, it’s a simple process. Domain sellers have gone out of their way to make it easy. Why? They want your business, of course! This isn’t rocket science and there is no point in pretending it is!

Before we discover how to register internationalized domain names (IDN), perhaps we should first be certain we are on the same page as to what constitutes an IDN. One recent article on the web misrepresented them as being two-letter country-code top level domain extensions like China’s dot-cn and Belize’s dot-bz. It is true that these extensions are controlled by the countries they represent, but they are no more internationalized domain names than is the United States’ good old dot-us or Canada’s dot-ca. They are simply, as mentioned above, country-code top level domain extensions (CCTLD’s). Note that like the “generic” top level domain extensions dot-com and dot-net, the CCTLD’s are all in Latin script. That’s a,b,c, etc., the Latin alphabet familiar to Westerners like me and probably you (if this isn’t your mother alphabet then I most humbly beg your pardon).

Internationalized domain names, on the other hand are written in the various scripts that nations like China, India, Russia and Japan used when some of us in the west were still living in caves waiting to be enlightened at the point of a Roman sword. ДЕШЕВЫЕДОМЕНЫ.COM is a good example of an internationalized domain name. As is obvious, the name itself is not in a form familiar to most Westerners. In this case it is in Cyrillic script; the alphabet of Russia and some of Eastern Europe. Note that the extension is dot-com but it could be any top level domain extension at all including dot-net and dot-cn. It is the name itself that makes it internationalized, not the extension.

Now that we are on the same page we can get on with learning how to register internationalized domain names. First of all, just as you would with the regular Latin variety, decide on your name and your extension, dot-com or whatever. Second, decide on the script you want to use. Since most of us here in the West don’t have keyboards capable of rendering the various scripts, you will probably have to copy the script rather than type it into the special domain name search box. Where to find the script? Google translate is one possibility, but be careful; capable as it is, Google translate isn’t human and the translation sometimes makes no sense. Ask a native speaker if your name is on track.

Third, find the special Internationalized domain search box at your favorite domain seller. This should be easy. If for some reason they don’t have one, get another domain seller. Copy the script into the search box. There is usually another box asking for the language, Russian, Chinese etc. In the case of the Cyrillic domain name above, it would be Russian. Hit enter and hope! As with any domain search you will be told if the name is available or not. The difference here is that the domain name you choose will appear in an unexpected form. The Cyrillic name we’ve been using as an example appears as “xn--b1adbcabb9ckh9hrbg.com.” This is called puny code. With this code the domain name system is able

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