IDNs to be available in '.ar' domain extension from August

NIC Argentina, the registry responsible for the regulation of the '.ar' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), has announced the launch of internationalized domain names (IDNs) in August this year.
The announcement follows the issuance of Resolution 616/2008 by the minister of foreign affairs on April 9 2008. The resolution:
  • introduces multilingual characters (eg, the letter 'ñ', the dieresis, Spanish and Portuguese accents and the cedilla) into the '.ar' ccTLD; and
  • establishes the process for replacing the sub-domain '' by '' (from 'gobierno', which is Spanish for 'government'). 
IDNs are domain names that may include non-ASCII characters - for example, diacritical marks and characters from non-Latin scripts.
The launch will be carried out in three phases following an initial period of up to 120 days (as from the date of Resolution 616/2008). The schedule is as follows:
  • NIC Argentina will publish and promote the rules for registration of domain names with multilingual characters during a 30-day period.
  • A sunrise period will be open to owners of domain names during the following 100 days. Owners will be able to apply for the registration of the corresponding IDNs.
  • During the following 90-day period, applications will be assessed pursuant to two basic rules:  

    • If there is only one applicant for a particular domain name, the domain name will be awarded to that applicant; and
    • If there is more than one applicant, the domain name will be awarded to the owner of the earliest registered similar domain name with no multilingual characters.
  • Registration of domain names with multilingual characters will subsequently be open to the general public.
The launch of IDNs in Argentina aims to:
  • reinforce the use of the Spanish language;
  • strengthen the Latin American identity; and 
  • promote Mercosur.
Agustina Martínez Estrada, G Breuer, Buenos Aires

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