Verisign and the IDN World Report

“The World Report is really great research on the use of domains and the future of domains. There is not enough research being done today that demonstrates the usability, the questions, and concerns that not just technicians have but also global audiences.” 

Pat Kane, Senior Vice President, Verisign

Verisign has been an enduring supporter of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) and the IDN World Report project.   We caught up with Verisign Senior Vice President, Pat Kane, at the ICANN meeting in Copenhagen 2017.  He explains the reason why Verisign supports the IDN World Report research project. Pat shares his long experience of supporting IDNs right from November 2000 when he was Verisign’s IDN Product Manager when the company first launched IDNs at the second level under .com and .net.  As part of the new gTLD programme, Verisign has begun the roll-out of top level IDN equivalents of .com and .net in scripts that support Chinese, Japanese and Korean markets.

Pat shares the experiences and market knowledge that Verisign has had in rolling out IDNs over the past 15 years or more.  “People are very interested in acquiring IDNs, but have concerns about using them.  Email and using IDNs as user identifiers are not ready”.  He shares an anecdote from approximately 10 years ago, when Verisign developed a plug-in to enable users in China to resolve IDNs in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.  Having rolled out the plug-in, Pat recalls that he was amazed at how many times the plug-in was downloaded, and views this as evidence that “people wanted to use them.”

The World Report on IDNs has been following the – sometimes slow – progress of so-called Universal Acceptance, the mission to enable IDNs to be used seamlessly in any context that other domains can be used.  Pat tells us that Verisign has been active in supporting improved usability of IDNs both through the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, and by working closely with engineers at the local level who are developing the relevant protocols.