Universal acceptance

Throughout this report we see statistics and analysis related to the registration and use of IDNs. It is clear that the ability to use IDNs is a factor in the creation of local content. Local content is strongly related to the ability of web pages and applications to be customized to the requirements of a region or community. However, a key measure of the success of IDNs is an answer to the question: “Can they be used like other domain names?”

It is essential that IDNs behave just like other domain names and work, display and resolve correctly. In these pages, we will call this behavior “Universal Acceptance” or UA, for short. Previous studies have shown that there are significant barriers to Universal Acceptance of IDNs. While there is progress, the pace of UA for IDNs is frustratingly sluggish. Progress toward UA for IDNs is especially slow in applications and security-related software. While there have been significant announcements of support for IDNs in email and other applications, the pace of uptake remains low.

Browsers continue to be a bright spot for the use, display and resolution of IDNs. Steady progress in browsers has been made in the last three years and the section that discusses IDNs and the World Wide Web notes promising improvements to the use of IDNs in browsers.

In addition to browsers, social media applications do a good job of displaying non-ASCII scripts and URLs (so-called ‘linkification’). Still, no global social media service allows an individual to register a username that contains an IDN as part of the identifier.

These small improvements cannot hide the fact that, in other parts of the Internet, Universal Acceptance is at best marginal and in some cases non-existent. Our survey of the UA landscape for IDNs includes a look at the implications of IDNs on the emerging Internet of Things.