IDNs now available for registration in ‘.ar’ domain extension

Argentina
NIC Argentina, the registry responsible for the ‘.ar’ country-code top-level domain, launched the registration of internationalized domain names (IDNs) on September 8 2008. 
 
The Spanish language uses the Roman script, but uses various letters with special accents, such as the letter ‘ñ’. In the early days of the Internet, domain names were available only in the Roman script traditionally used for the English language, restricted to:
  • the letters of the Latin alphabet (A to Z);
  • numerals (0 to 9); and
  • hyphens. 
Computers cannot process special language characters such as the letter ‘ñ’ in domain names. In order to create representations of the Roman characters that computers can understand, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange is used. In practice, this means that the domain name ‘barceló.com’, for example, translates into ‘xn--barcel-gxa.com’. 
 
IDNs allow the multitude of people worldwide whose first language is not made up of, or restricted to, letters of the Roman script to use their own language on the Internet. ‘.ar’ IDNs may contain many of the existing Spanish language characters. 
 
The general registration period of ‘.ar’ IDNs will be preceded by a sunrise period for domain name holders that registered their ‘.ar’ domain name before July 31 2008.  These domain name holders will be entitled to apply for the IDN equivalent to their existing ‘.ar’ domain name. For example, the registrant of ‘papa.com.ar’ will be able to apply for the registration of ‘papá.com.ar’ with priority.   
 
Applicants for an ‘.ar’ IDN must wait for their application to be approved before being able to use the domain name. The sunrise period will last until December 16 2008 and applications will be considered from December 17 2008 to March 16 2009.  NIC Argentina will subsequently announce the date from which IDN registrations will be open to the public.
 
In the event of more than one application for the same IDN, the allocation will be decided based on which registrant was first to register its qualifying domain name.
 
David Taylor and Brechtje Lindeboom, Lovells LLP, Paris

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