Back to Contents of Issue: April 2003

If you missed out on getting a Japanese language domain name back in 2000, your second chance may be coming up.

by Mark McCracken

IF YOU MISSED OUT on getting a Japanese language domain name back in 2000, your second chance may be coming up.

VeriSign of the US announced at the beginning of this year that its Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) service is functional, meaning that you can now write and register domain names with .com, .net, or .org extensions in characters and symbols from over 350 languages, including Japanese.

Perhaps you'd like to have a name like http://www.“X.com@for your very own. Yeah, you and the rest of the world. VeriSign began accepting registrations for its Multilingual Domain Names Testbed back in November 2000. Coming at the tail end of the Internet boom, most of the "good" names, as well as plenty of the unmarketable ones, were snapped up in a speculation frenzy.

Now that the Internet bubble has burst, it's quite possible that many of those domain names were not renewed before March 9, when VeriSign stopped offering its free extension, and you might be able to get the Japanese language domain name you wanted but missed out on the first time around.

But be warned: There are some problems with the names. First, there are no guarantees. VeriSign goes to lengths to remind people that this is just a test bed.

Second, email with non-English characters doesn't work. "The domain name service," VeriSign says, "is separate from email, and, unfortunately, the systems that handle email are not able to recognize or support non-English language characters at this time."

Third, Japanfs three alphabets increase the chance of domain name confusion. “ú–{.com, ‚É‚Ù‚ñ.com, ƒjƒzƒ“.com are all different domain names and should in no case be confused with “ñ–{.com nor ‚É‚Á‚Û‚ñ.com.

These problems could lead even the most ardent early adapter to conclude that internationalized domain names are more trouble than they are worth. @

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