Nominet poses grave question

Should domain names allow the use of non-alphabetical characters? This is the question being asked by Nominet, the official registry for .uk internet names.

The company is currently inviting feedback from the public and industry on the use of International Domain Names (IDN) for web addresses and emails. This would allow the use of accents (for example, www.café.co.uk), letters from other alphabets (www.êþô.org.uk) or even symbols and ideograms, for example from Chinese or Russian.

Domain names worldwide are currently limited to using the letters A-Z, the digits 0-9 and hyphens.

Possible advantages identified by Nominet include support for localised domain names and the opening of the Internet to non-English speakers.

Disadvantages include the fact that the majority of computers and QWERTY keyboards are equipped to handle English. Furthermore, opening up the domain name system to more permutations increases the opportunity for typosquatting and cybersquatting.

Nominet is inviting feedback on its the consultation paper which can be found at www.nominet.org.uk/content/files/PabIdnConsult2.doc, with the consultation period running until 6 September, 2005.

What are your thoughts – an important step in opening up the Internet, or an unnecessary complication? Leave a comment via the link below.

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