Japanese IDNs are losing momentum

I am bullish on internationalized domain names (IDNs). I view them as a natural evolution of a multilingual Internet.

But I also am well aware that there are those who says IDNs are more hype than substance. That they will never be more than a novelty.

With this in mind, I have to report that the number of IDN registrations in Japan has decreased over the past year.

Japan’s registry has launched a web site to counter this trend, shown below:

What do you think? Will this ominous-looking web site stem the tide?

I’m not so sure.

But I don’t believe the problem is IDNs per se, rather the lack of full-length IDN availability (coming soon to Japan and elsewhere).

More important is the lack for IDN support across all software  applications.

Also, keep in mind that while IDNs struggle to take off in Japan, in Russia they are big news. As of today, more than 700,000 Russian IDNs have been registered.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.