Domain names with Norwegian characters briefly available
Norid - the organization in charge of administrating the Norwegian country-code top-level domain '.no' - has started accepting the registration of domain names with Norwegian characters this morning. Any letter from all Norwegian written languages - including the two official Norwegian languages (bokmål and nynorsk), North Sámi, South Sámi and Lule Sámi - can be used. This gives applicants 23 new possible characters to use.
Norid will accept applications only until 4pm on February 13 on a first come, first served basis. Holders of domain names that use the standard ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character set have no priority rights over the corresponding domain name with Norwegian characters. The Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority will resolve conflicts between two or more applications for the same name by random draw on February 16.
While the introduction of these new characters opens (albeit briefly) new possibilities of domain name registration to Norwegian companies, it also has its drawbacks: not all keyboards can enter Norwegian characters and software may not be able to handle them. Therefore, it is highly recommended to supplement a domain name with Norwegian characters by also registering the equivalent domain name using the ASCII character set. Another potential issue is that by attracting more registrations on a strictly first come, first served basis, the number of ensuing conflicts may also increase, despite the introduction of a dispute resolution policy last October (see New '.no' ccTLD dispute resolution policy now in force).
Another change introduced today is that the maximum number of domain names owned by each legal entity has been increased from 15 to 20.
For background information on the introduction of Norwegian characters in '.no' domain names, see Norwegian domain name system expands to accept new characters. For a discussion of other country-code top-level domain administrators accepting special characters in domain names, see Domain names with Danish characters now registrable and Domain names with umlauts can be registered from March 1 2004.
Felix Reimers, Advokatfirmaet Grette DA, Oslo
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