An annual IDN report written in collaboration with EURid, UNESCO and Verisign. This year’s report focused upon growth in the Middle East.
The 2013 World report on IDNs looked at a sample of 90% of the world’s registered domain names. Emily Taylor was lead author of this publication, which has been presented at the 2013 IGF in Barley, and in the 2014 Middle East DNS forum in Dubai. The updated report now includes data going back to 2009. The 2014 World Report is currently being written, with Emily Taylor once again as lead author, and will focus on experiences in Arab states, where uptake has historically been low.
The report found that in 2013, there were only 5 million multilingual domain names representing 2% of all domain names. The report looked at what exactly was inhibiting uptake. It was concluded that there were many challenges yet to overcome before a widespread adoption of multilingual domain names could be seen. A staggering 0% of the world’s most popular websites allow multilingual email addresses for user identifiers, meaning that usability of these sites is extremely exclusive.
Support for multilingual usage of mobile devices was poor. Only 8% of the world’s most popular websites recognise multilingual domain names as part of links or URLs, meaning that sharing anything multilingual on social media sites will produce difficulties.
The report put special focus on usability, and the experiences of deploying IDNs in Asia and Pacific region, and how IDNs are being used.
It found that there was a perfect correlation between the choice of script for the domain names of sites, and language of site content. It seems obvious, a site with a Chinese domain name is of course likely to have Chinese content. But this was a significant finding, as it made clear that IDNs have a significant part to play in the fostering of a multilingual Internet. Where IDNs are being used, there is positive support for multilingual content.
However, even now there still remain challenges regarding uptake of international content, because usability is so inhibited.