“The introduction of internationalized domain names (IDNs) offers the world one of the best opportunities it will ever have to introduce more diversity and competition into the domain name registry market. That market is currently dominated by VeriSign, which operates the .com and .net domains (as well as a couple of TLDs it bought, .tv and cc) and hence controls about 80% of the gTLD market. It has proven almost impossible to crack the dominance of .com, but if anything can do it, TLDs in new scripts (Chinese, Cyrillic, etc.) responding to entirely new markets can. Unfortunately, the politics within ICANN are threatening that opportunity. There is a move afoot to give country code TLD registries a free gift of an IDN top level domain. Did I say “a” free gift? That implies only one. But as I will explain later, it may turn out to be two, or three, or maybe six or even twenty free gifts by the time ICANNs Governmental Advisory Committee and CCNSO gets done with it. Theres a real danger that this ccTLD fast-track to new IDN top level domains will reinforce incumbent national monopolies. And its clear that this option is being considered only because ICANN wants to win political support from governments and the increasingly rich and powerful national registries, many of which are state-owned or state-connected….”
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