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The Future of International Domain Names: Trends and Predictions

Though they’ve been around since 1983 – when Norway created the .no extension – international domain names took a long time to catch on. Most focused on the .com extension, especially in the United States. And despite the fact that the .us extension was created in 1983, giving Americans an alternative, it wasn’t until the 2000s that ccTLDs really took off.

Today, around 40% of active domain names are ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) amounting to 150 million registrations.

Your URL may be one of them.

Or, you’re considering international domain registration for a business expansion and want to know what the sector has in store. That’s where this article comes in – read on to discover three key trends that will shape international domains in the coming years.

Trend 1 – The Rise of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs)

Though international domain names have been around for a long time, web standards often led to many of them only being available in English. Take the .co.jp extension for Japan as an example. The letters used for that extension aren’t part of the Japanese language – it uses characters outside of the traditional Latin alphabet.

Enter the concept of IDNs.

These are foreign language domains that not only use international domain extensions, such as co.jp, but can essentially translate them into characters that aren’t standard ASCII characters. Registrants can now apply for domain names in their language of choice, with the conversion technology behind IDNs converting that language into the ASCII characters needed for making the domain usable online.

Expect far more people to start making use of IDNs as the technology becomes more accessible. Not only does it allow people who don’t use the traditional Latin alphabet to create domains – and do so without worrying about working in another language – but it also makes the web more accessible to a wider range of businesses.

Trend 2 – Increased Usage of GeoTLDs

Think of GeoTLDs as regional offshoots of ccTLDs.

For instance, .co.uk is a ccTLD that applies to the entire United Kingdom. But now, businesses can buy a .london domain name – which is a GeoTLD – so they can build websites focused on that specific location within the U.K. Similar evolutions of domain names are occurring in the United States, with the .nyc extension starting to gain popularity.

The use of these types of extensions is likely to rise in the coming years for a simple reason:

Local SEO.

Previously, companies that only operated in a small region were restricted to using country-level domain names even though they might only offer their services in a specific city. With GeoTLDs, those companies can now strengthen their local SEO efforts – building on a domains specific to their region – without worrying about competing with all of the ccTLD users in other regions.

There are benefits for national and international businesses, too.

GeoTLDs expand upon ccTLD’s ability to give these types of businesses a local presence in their international markets. Now, they can break that presence down to specific regions – a huge boon for competing on the local level.

Trend 3 – New Regulations to Consider

In 2023, the European Union (E.U.) introduced an updated version of its NIS2 legislation.

First introduced in 2016, the rules apply across the E.U. and are intended to boost cybersecurity protections granted to consumers – and domain owners – in all E.U. countries. Within the updated laws are conditions that domain registrars may soon have to follow in order to verify the information that registrants provide when filing for an international domain name.

Look for more of these types of regulations to start appearing in the coming years.

The odds are that many will require businesses to have a physical presence in a country before registering a domain there, as seen in Japan. Thankfully, trustee services – registrars that maintain that presence so they can register domains on your company’s behalf – may help you overcome these regulatory challenges.

Keep an Eye on the Trends

Though none of the upcoming trends in international domains are earth-shattering in terms of transforming the entire sector, many may affect registrations in the future. The rise of IDNs and GeoTLDs will give you more options – especially in terms of website optimization – while changing legislation may present a few more hoops to jump through when buying your domain.

IEMA IEMLabs
IEMA IEMLabshttps://iemlabs.com
IEMLabs is an ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2015 certified company, we are also a proud member of EC Council, NASSCOM, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The company was established in 2016 with a vision in mind to provide Cyber Security to the digital world and make them Hack Proof. The question is why are we suddenly talking about Cyber Security and all this stuff? With the development of technology, more and more companies are shifting their business to Digital World which is resulting in the increase in Cyber Crimes.
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