RealTime IT News

Australian Company Offers Multi-Lingual Domain Names in Europe

[London, ENGLAND] Australian e-commerce services supplier Melbourne IT announced Friday it will offer registrations for multi-lingual domain names in 28 national languages throughout Europe from February 26, 2001.

Towards the end of last year, Melbourne IT began to register multi-lingual domain names in Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters. Its success with the venture has persuaded it to continue on a larger scale.

"Language is a significant barrier in using the Internet for non-English speaking people and memorizing an English Web site address presents difficulties for non-English speakers," said Clive Flory, president of Melbourne IT's Internet Names World Wide division.

Flory went on to say that the introduction of multi-lingual domain names in European countries will accelerate the growth of the Internet and its applications. He said Melbourne IT plans to introduce the service in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the central European nations of Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

So what constitutes a "multi-lingual domain name"?

Melbourne IT explains it by saying it combines prefix characters in the language of the country of origin with the suffix ".com," ".net" or ".org." It notes Espaa.com, Espaa.net and Espaa.org as valid examples of multi-lingual domain names.

The service offered by Melbourne IT follows a decision last month by VeriSign Global Registry to expand the language functionality of its Multilingual Domain Name Test bed and begin accepting domain name registrations in characters from several additional languages.

Melbourne IT's INWW division is one of the first ICANN accredited registrars to be certified for handling multi-lingual domain names.

One word of warning to companies intending to register a multi-lingual domain name: the names should be considered provisional in this initial test phase, according to VeriSign Global Registry. A small number of them could become invalid as new standards are developed.

An innovative company, Melbourne IT was the first registrar to offer 63 character domain names and the first to offer 1-10 year registrations. Its shares are traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, under the symbol MLB. Its names division is on the Web at www.inww.com.