Remember back when the internet was basically just .com and .org, and maybe a little .edu? Those were the days. There are now far more offerings for those little domain name endings, which are called gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), and ICANN has been adding new ones in other languages.
Anyone can apply, and then the domain extensions are considered and ultimately chosen (or not) by ICANN. The next batch of new ones, which will be rolled out over the next several years, is set to include a bunch of new Chinese domains, including:
- .八卦 (.gossip)
- .集团 (.group)
- .网店 (.webstore)
- .商城 (.mall)
- .我爱你 (.iloveyou)
- .娱乐 (.entertainment)
- .慈善 (.charitable)
- .时尚 (.fashion)
- .网站 (.website)
- .微博 (.weibo)
It will be a while before any of these are actually in use, and of course most companies will likely maintain their roman-letter URLs for some time even after adopting the Chinese language ones. But in the longer term, it will be interesting to see if this becomes yet another thing that separates China’s internet from the rest of the world.
At the same time, though, these Chinese-language domains are a fantastic step forward, as they will make the internet more accessible, especially to older generations who may not have the same familiarity with roman letters that many younger people do. If Chinese websites maintain both a Chinese and a roman-alphabet domain, that would be the best of both worlds for users both inside and outside China. Here’s hoping that’s what happens.
(China Business News via Sina Tech)
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