“Universal Acceptance” is one of those terms you hear a lot when you attend ICANN meetings. In simple terms the idea is that all domain names, be they IDN or ASCII, no matter how long they are, should “work”. When we say “work” what I mean is in relation to daily use. (There are people working on it)
So, for example, you should be able to do things like:
- create an email address
- send / receive email using the domain
- signup for online services
- use online services
- links to the domain name should be recognised as hyperlinks where appropriate
And the list goes on..
Unfortunately we’re still a long way off this being reality.
While some people focus a lot on IDN domain names, the reality is that the issue impacts a lot of ASCII (Latin) domains as well.
Because unfortunately the methods that developers and programmers use to check if a domain name is a domain, a URL a URL, or an email address an email address, are far from perfect.
Some, for example, make assumptions about the number of characters between the dots (.) in a domain. While this might have worked years ago when domain extensions were either two or three characters long or broken up into two or three character parts eg.
These days that method won’t work. If you look at the most popular new TLDs “in the wild” there are plenty that have extensions of four characters or longer (who would have expected .photography to be so popular?).
Personally I’ve got several new TLD domain names that I’m using for a variety of personal projects and I’ve got email associated with some of them. So when I’m signing up for services or logging into wifi etc., I test to see if they’ll accept my .irish email address.
Some do, some don’t
Today’s example is Delta:
Now in fairness to Delta they aren’t alone. I haven’t tested all the major airlines (yet) but I suspect most of them would probably have issues as they are quite slow to make changes to their online systems. Though one could also argue if they did saner email validation this wouldn’t be an issue.
On the positive side, however, Twitter is doing a very good job and seems to be recognising new TLDs quite quickly after they are delegated.