First non-Latin Internet domain names activated

Three Mideast countries have become the first to get Internet addresses entirely in non-Latin characters.

Updated: May 07, 2010, 12:33 PM IST

Cairo: Three Mideast countries have become the
first to get Internet addresses entirely in non-Latin
characters.

Domain names in Arabic for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates were added to the Internet`s master
directories Thursday, following final approval last month by
the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or
ICANN. It`s the first major change to the Internet domain name
system since its creation in the 1980s.

Registrations for websites to use those names are to
begin soon. Today, Egypt granted three companies approval to
register names using the country`s new Arabic suffix.

Until now, websites had to end their addresses with
".com" or another string using Latin characters. That meant
businesses and government agencies still had to use Latin
characters on billboards and advertisements, even if they were
targeting populations with no familiarity with English or
other languages that use the Latin script.

Non-Latin characters were sometimes permitted for the
portions of the Internet address before the suffix. But Arabic
websites generally haven`t had that option because Arabic
characters are written right to left, conflicting with Latin
suffixes written left to right.

PTI