Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Users react to web address changes

The internet regulator Icann has approved plans to allow non-Latin-script web addresses, a move that is being described as the biggest change to the way the internet works since it was created 40 years ago.

Here, internet users discuss the effect domain names in Arabic, Chinese or other scripts have on the world wide web.


Board members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

This is not going to affect me personally. The websites I use, like Twitter, newspapers or official government websites are all in English. But it may have an impact for local Chinese users. The internet is international from the outset and I think this would make the internet feel even more international. Imagine languages like Chinese, Hindi, Hebrew, the languages use Cyrillic alphabet - it's all happening with the text, so why not with the URL itself? More and more people will be getting online, especially in China. People here would love to see a domain in Chinese - you score points when you localise in China. There's certainly going to be some confusion in the beginning, but at the end of the day the whole world works with different character sets.
David Feng, Beijing, China

It may seem as counter-intuitive but being Greek, and Greeks don't use the Latin alphabet, I find this change very worrisome. There is a great danger that the internet, which has hitherto been a unitary tool for culture, information-sharing and dialog on an international level may become irreversibly fragmented. It will become even more difficult to access information databases in Russian or Chinese websites. On the other hand the internet helped greatly to establish English as an international language. It is possible that fewer people in China, Russia, or the Arab countries will be sufficiently trained to access and use international websites, where they could get a different point of view on controversial political issues. It somehow feels regressive.
Stefanos Likkas, Athens, Greece

From BBC Arabic.com: All the Arabs who browse the web know how to read and write in English, and they have sufficient knowledge of English to use the web.
Heba Murad, Egypt

I think this change in internet DNS system should be welcomed. This way the internet will become usable for many people who don't speak English or any Latin-based languages. These people will become part of the internet more rapidly, rendering more opportunities and business.
Hassaan Tariq, Lahore, Pakistan

It's a great step towards the localisation of the internet. It would be nice to have a domain name it our own language and it will define a new globalised understanding of the internet.
Fahim, Kabol, Afghanistan

That's the greatest change that had ever been made to world of internet. I love it and I pray that one day I will be able to write my own web address in my native language - Adara.
Frank Eemmanuel, Kaduna, Nigeria

From BBC Arabic.com: I prefer to deal with these matters without modifications for Arabic users. For example, there are Arab countries that teach medicine and engineering in Arabic, and the result is that those who graduate have poor standards because they are deficient in language learning.
Akram, Egypt

I run a successful web car leasing business in the UK. I am also Chinese. All this multi-script domain name adventure is a money - making scheme for these non-accountable bodies. In the interest of future-proofing my business, I will be forced into the rush for appropriate generic and specific foreign-script URLs that apply to my business. For instance, I will be racing to grab the Chinese language version of "Car Leasing". I can imagine spending up to £5,000 in this area, without blinking, as the importance of domain names is hard to underestimate. Whoever buys "sex.com" in Chinese characters will be sitting on an instant profit of millions of dollars, for the name alone. Stick to Latin script for the internet, I say.
Ling Valentine, Gateshead, UK

Yes, I do want a domain name without Latin characters because billions of internet users like me are badly affected by Latin-based surfing. Allowing other languages as international domain names would certainly help more than a half of the internet community come out of the mental and physical hardship they face while going online.
Abdul Samad, Islamabad, Pakistan

From BBC Arabic.com: A good step that makes internet browsing easier for those who don't speak English.
Ahmad Makhlouf, Canada

I think it's great news. I run a couple of sites for various companies in regions where English is not the main language. I just hope the translation issues can be handled effectively as I am sure there's going to be a mad rush domain names again and many established sites could find themselves without their brand names.
Theo Dorotheou, Pretoria, South Africa

I think this is completely unnecessary. It has got no defined goals.
Sam Joel, Chennai, India

From BBC Arabic.com: We need to have website addresses in Arabic so that those who don't understand English can have access to the internet.
G Brimo, Aleppo, Syria

I think that most people do not usually type the web addresses they want to go to. Instead they use search engines, like Google, which support non-Latin input, or just click the bookmarks. It only serves as something readable in a printed form for company profile, ads, business cards in the corresponding non-Latin language.
Ferry Augustinus, Semarang Indonesia

This is a welcome development. The domain names and languages should include Hausa and other major African languages.
Yahaya, Nasarawa, Nigeria

From BBC Arabic.com: This will increase the number of internet users and will urge everybody to use the web.
Abdulrahman, Egypt

I do not think it is a wise idea. Maintaining standards would not be easy and chaos can be expected.
Amr Gohar, 6 October City, Egypt

I do not like that idea. It's better to have one common language that could be understood by every person in the world.
Navdeep Brar, Davao, Philippines



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