IoN Magazine, standing for “Internet of Names”, is the first-ever glossy domain name industry magazine. The inaugural issue was released on June 26, 2014 coinciding with the ICANN 50 conference in London.
The premise of the publication is to provide news, opinion, interviews, and analysis about the current ICANN conference - it even includes a schedule of events, local restaurant guide, and an entertainment feature with humor, cartoons, and even crosswords. Spearheaded by the DotAsia Organization and domain name industry enterprises, IoN offers a great opportunity for companies in the domain industry to collectively share information about initiatives, data, and announcements.
In the note from the editor and industry leader, Kieren McCarthy states that the idea to create IoN Magazine was driven by the recent general availability of 200-plus new gTLDs that are expanding the internet community. TLD Registry took advantage of the IoN launch to initiate a new series of full-page advertisements, “The End of ASCII” - dedicated to bringing awareness to a digital divide manifested from the lack of universal access (and partly solved by our fully-Chinese domain names!)
Our ad in the first issue of IoN shows a young boy looking at a mobile device, representing a typical rural Chinese child using the most common method to access the internet -- through mobile devices. The ASCII (English) requirements for inputting domain names has made internet access challenging for users such as our boy. With the new widespread availability of fully-Chinese domain names -- such as our Dot Chinese Online and Dot Chinese Website domains -- our boy has now scaled the digital divide. He can write the Chinese characters for his favorite cartoon character, for example, with his fingertip, and those characters are the domain name for the website he seeks.
The message is clear and imminent. ASCII is not helpful for the next billion internet users.
Fully native language IDNs are, on the other hand, enablers.
The Internet is often portrayed as a universal platform where the communication of ideas are easily accessible and immediately transferred globally. If this is true, then why does a digital divide still exist? An English speaking Internet user understands the concept that domain names have correspondence to the landing page.
For example, “internetregistry.info” is going to bring the browser to an Internet Registry page. This concept does not exist with Chinese Internet users. Because IDNs were not initially implemented, Chinese websites are often a consolidation of lucky numbers or random ASCII characters. Even with an ASCII based phonetic system, the Chinese language is too complex to give a specific meaning to ASCII domain names.
The digital divide limits communities that do not have an ASCII character based language, preventing universal access.
Back to the young boy in the IoN ad - it is time that the upcoming generation of millennials, whose childhoods will be guided by voice recognition texting on their smartphone, no longer suffer the inconveniences of ASCII. For the majority of the world, the Chinese people, .在线 Dot Chinese Online and .中文网 Dot Chinese Website linguistically provide a deeper relevance and connection to the Internet.
IoN Magazine kindly featured our ad initiative helping us advocate our message to the ICANN network. TLD Registry has always and will always strive to gain universal access in order to diminish the digital divide. And now, we proudly present the second in our series of “boy” advertisements, published today in IoN Magazine’s second issue, to commemorate the ICANN 51 meeting in Los Angeles.
Fast may the digital divide fall!
Amanda Ng, TLD Registry.
This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)