Universal Acceptance is the concept that all domain names should be treated equally.
Domain names and e-mail addresses should be Accepted, Stored, Processed and Displayed in a consistent and effective manner.
Many systems still assume that domain names (and associated e-mail addresses) are only available in ASCII and that Top Level Domain names are restricted to a well-defined and constant two or three characters. Since the introduction of IDN ccTLDs in 2010 and the most recent wave of new gTLDs in 2013, this is no longer the case.
In February 2015 the community created the Universal Acceptance Steering Group tasked with undertaking activities that will effectively promote the Universal Acceptance of all valid domain names and email addresses. These efforts will at least target Universal Acceptance of all ASCII domain names, ASCII email addresses, IDN domain names, and IDN email.
Ram Mohan is ideally suited to chair this Steering Group. As the CTO of Afilias, one of the first ‘new’ gTLDs in 2001, he’s very familiar with the challenges that new TLDs face when entering the market. Fluent in English and Hindi, Ram is also very familiar with IDNs as Afilias has been providing back end services for the India registry that is launching a dozen IDN ccTLDs to serve India’s diverse language and script community. Ram is also on the Board of ICANN. “Providing diversity and choice are important to the Internet community. While the DNS infrastructure is able to support diversity, it’s now important to make sure that all the software that uses the Internet is able to also support the Diversity”
Edmon Chung is also very familiar with the issues around Universal Acceptance. Hong Kong based, Edmon has been the driving force for of .Asia, like Afilias’ .info, another older ‘new entrant’ into the Domain Name Space. Fluent in English and Mandarin, Edmon is very aware of the challenges of serving the non-Latin script based communities using the Internet. Besides experience as a registry operator, Edmon bring strong community focus as well as Asia-wide regional interests to the group. “Many of the next Billion Internet users will come from the non-Latin based language communities. It’s vital that they have equal access to all the services on the Internet”.
Christian Dawson has worked in and with Internet Infrastructure providers for decades. He knows the issues that ISPs face when things don’t go as expected for their clients. Through his work with the i2Coalition and the M3AAWG Christian is also aware of the risks that occur when people come across unexpected characters on the Internet. “We need to get the global Internet community aware that the world has moved beyond .com and that there will soon be more than a thousand names to choose from.”
Rich Merdinger is the Vice-President of Domains at GoDaddy, one of the world’s largest registrars and Internet hosting providers. With the new gTLD program that came to fruition in 2013, Rich has seen the wide choice that registrants now have in choosing a domain name that suits them. “It’s imperative that all registrants have equal opportunity and this Universal Acceptance initiative is important for choice and diversity on the Internet. GoDaddy is fully behind this initiative.”
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