Guest Post by Universal Acceptance Steering Group Secretary General Don Hollander

Since 2006 the Domain Name System (DNS) has expanded dramatically, not only fueling competition, choice and innovation, but truly enabling a multi-lingual Internet. There are now more than a 1,500 top-level domains (TLDs), many of which are longer than the traditional two- and three-character (e.g. .COM, .EDU, .NZ, and .ORG) or are in non-ASCII based scripts – such as Arabic, Cyrillic, and Thai.

The expansion allows people to claim a domain name that best reflects their sense of identity. While this expansion is critical in bringing the next billion people online and growing the global Internet economy, the incorporation of these new domains across the global Internet is not an entirely automatic process. Chief information officers, web administrators, application developers and others have an important role to play in making sure their applications are compatible with the evolved Internet infrastructure. That’s why the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) is reaching out to make sure you know about this change.

The Issue at Hand

Many organizations and business have not updated their systems to accommodate the new domains or, in other words, become Universal Acceptance (UA)-ready. As a result, many applications and Internet-connected devices and systems are unable to accept, validate, store, process or display all domain names. This causes problems for organizations and headaches for users because if the applications do not recognize or appropriately process the new domain names or email addresses that use these extensions, it will result in lost customers and a poor user experience.

Resources Available to Assist You

To address these issues and provide support, stakeholders and industry leaders such as Apple, GoDaddy, Google, ICANN, Microsoft, The DNA, and Verisign created the UASG. The UASG exists to help organizations ensure their systems are UA-ready and able to accept all domain names and email addresses in any valid script.

The UASG has developed a number of helpful guides and resources which are available at https://uasg.tech/documents. Of particular note is the Quick Guide to Universal Acceptance (UASG005), which is available in multiple languages, as well as the Introduction to Universal Acceptance (UASG 007), a comprehensive technical document on Universal Acceptance and the key issues that developers and system architects need to know. To help organizations and businesses understand the premise, UASG members also created an overview video “Universal Acceptance: Enabling a Multilingual Internet,” which can be found at: https://uasg.tech/video-archive/

We encourage you to visit our website and view these useful materials, and also to get involved with the UASG (you can join the mailing list at https://uasg.tech/subscribe) and The DNA so we can work together to fully incorporate these new domains for the benefit of the next generation of Internet users.

About the Author: Don Hollander is a New Zealand-based, former CIO for very large domestic and international corporations.

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