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New domains could benefit Arabic

ICANN’s New Generic Top-Level Domain Program offers significant opportunities for Middle Eastern organisations to expand their online presence, according to Rod Beckstrom, CEO and President of ICANN.

New domains could benefit Arabic
Beckstrom: New gTLDs a good thing.

ICANN’s New Generic Top-Level Domain Program offers significant opportunities for Middle Eastern organisations to expand their online presence, according to Rod Beckstrom, CEO and President of ICANN.

He stressed the benefits and challenges of the new domains for the Middle East, and cited the region’s technological know-how as a factor that would encourage the innovation and consumer choice the program is expected to generate. Beckstrom delivered the keynote address to the Global Leaders Summit, an exclusive meeting of regional leaders, at Gitex, the region’s premier technology conference, in Dubai.

“‘You can apply for new gTLDs in Arabic, Chinese or other scripts,” he says. “This is the first time in history that it is possible to apply for new generic top-level domains in internationalized domain scripts. So it means you could apply for terms in Arabic – not only a company name or brand or a city name, but any other word or generic term.”

Comparing the creation of the new gTLD program to the development of Dubai as a commercial centre, Beckstrom says: “When you open up standards in technology, when you create rules of law, it fosters and allows innovation that none of us can imagine”.

“People ask me: what’s going to happen to the domain name system now that you are opening up new gTLDs? And the answer is: we don’t know. The innovation will come from very unlikely directions. Opening up the right of the dot” in Latin script addresses to “dot almost anything” is being undertaken with great care to ensure the security and stability of the Internet’s domain name system, which is “job number one for us.”

Beckstrom highlighted the complexity of the application process and the need for applicants to be prepared to face substantial obstacles. “Running a top-level domain is not like buying a second-level domain,” he noted. “You’re actually running a piece of critical [Internet] infrastructure for the world. It’s got to be running 24/7, reliably, and for years and years and years.”

The application window for new gTLDs opens on 12 January 2012 and closes on 12 April.

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