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INFO is first domain name to provide registration of German script umlaut
Dusseldorf, GERMANY - 18 September 2003 - Afilias, a global provider of domain name registry services, announced Thursday that it will be the first generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry to implement an ICANN-standards compliant internationalized domain name (IDN) solution with the launch of its first IDN product for .INFO. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2003, Afilias will open registration of .INFO names using the German script  umlaut characters.
"This is an important step in the evolution of the Internet as a true global medium for communication. .INFO's success in Germany has been extraordinary and illustrates the demand for domain names that have international meaning," said Philipp Grabensee, Chairman of Afilias Board of Directors located in Dusseldorf, Germany. "We believe that German script registrations will be popular given that .INFO has over a quarter of a million .INFO domains already registered in Germany, with at least 10% of those containing the letter combinations ae, oe, and ue, which are the widely used alternatives to registering an umlaut character on the Web."
The umlaut has the effect of adding an "e" after the vowels a, o and u. The letter combinations "ae", "oe", and "ue" are generally substituted for "ä", "ö", and "ü" in e-mail and other forms of communication where umlauts are not available. There are currently thousands of words in the German language that use umlauts that previously have been unable to be registered as Web sites or used in e-mail.
Afilias has worked closely with the Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim (The German Language Institute in Mannheim, Germany) in developing an appropriate solution to address the needs of registrants in Germany and surrounding areas. Based on the advice of the Institut fur Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, Afilias will introduce its first IDN solution to address the common use of umlaut characters.
"It is critical that technologists work closely with local language experts in developing solutions that seek to enhance the linguistic capabilities of the Internet," said Grabensee. "We believe that Afilias is introducing a solution that addresses the majority of non-ASCII script characters needed for a German script solution."
Registrations will begin on a first-come, first served basis at the same wholesale price as other .INFO domains. One and two letter domains in addition to country names will be prohibited from registration, per Afilias contract with ICANN. Those interested in registering a German script .INFO domain, should contact the ICANN-accredited and Afilias-authorized registrar of their choice for retail pricing and availability.
Those interested in registering names should be aware that submitting any pre-registration requests to a registrar in advance of the launch, does not guarantee a successful registration of that name.