sg domain names in Chinese characters lag

Between November, 23, 2009, when Singapore first began registering .sg names in Chinese characters, and June 10, 2010, when registrations of Chinese-character .sg domain names opened to all without any additional fee, only 1,024 such names were registered, or just 0.88 percent of all .sg domain names. This apparently includes not just second-level domains (e.g., ??.sg) but also third-level domains (e.g., ??.com.sg).

The percentage will likely rise in the coming months, as the process has only recently opened to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. But, still, demand for such names in Singapore has so far been underwhelming.

A bit more information:

Registrations were accepted in phases, with registrations for government organizations starting on Nov. 23, 2009. Beginning in January, SGNIC began accepting domain name registrations from trademark holders.

During the third phase, the general public was allowed to register domain names starting on March 25, but applicants were charged a “priority fee” of S$100 (US$72) for each domain name, with domain names sought by several applicants awarded to the highest bidder.

In all three phases, applicants could apply for a domain name made up of Chinese numbers or a name with just one Chinese character for a fee of S$500 [US$360]….

The fourth and final phase began on June 10, with SGNIC accepting domain name applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The S$100 priority fee is no longer required, but applicants are no longer allowed to register domain names using Chinese numbers or names with just one Chinese character….

When IDA announced the introduction of Chinese-language domain names last year, SGNIC said the effort was partly intended to help Singaporean businesses target the Chinese market.

source: Singapore registers 1,000 Chinese-language domain names, IDG News Service, June 23, 2010

7 thoughts on “sg domain names in Chinese characters lag

  1. I must say that I still oppose this whole domain-in-native-characters thingy. The internet has once connected people, now we are dividing them again.

    The characters used until now were a very nice common basis: Every computer supported them, they could be entered directly from any keyboard. But how is a European supposed to enter a Hanzi domain printed on the back of a product?

    Well, at least phishers will love this, now they have easier ways to lure their victims to copies of real sites. No typos necessary, just replace a letter with a similar one from another script…

  2. What good is the ability to type the name of a site you can’t read?

    Anyway, I don’t know about China, but in Japan ads often don’t use URLs anyway. The Japanese populace has pretty good knowledge of roman characters compared to some other countries, but advertisers still find it less error prone to write “Search for ‘blah’!” and add a q-code barcode for phones. If you use a roman URL, you’re asking your audience to remember a tricky spelling. Searches are more foolproof.

  3. Well, first of all, there are translation services (Altavista etc). Secondly, gems like this:

    http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2010/05/idn-example.png

    And finally: As I said, every computer allows to input the characters used now. For other scripts, it may be necessary to enable other keyboard layouts, use virtual keyboards or even install input methods for complex characters. Many Taiwanese have to take keyboards with them when they move abroad, because they only learned one input method and never learned it to a degree where they do not need to look up characters on the keyboard…

    What is being done now is just satisfying some “national pride”…

  4. If you don’t like the look of Arabic script at the top if an English language page, how do you think Arabs feel about having Roman script on the top of an Arabic page? I agree that it’s silly to have a page for English speakers in Egypt with a URL that only makes sense to readers of Arabic script, but by the same token, there’s no reason to force everyone in the world to learn Roman script just to be able to surf the web.

    In any case, entering URLs by hand is relatively rare occurrence. In the real world, you only need to hand enter a URL when a friend tells you about a site or for advertisement (although those can also use qcodes). The rest of the time, you click a link or a bookmark. Probably most of the visitors to some Egyptian ministry’s website are going to be people who go to Google and search for it in the first place, so the URL doesn’t matter.

  5. “dl7und said:

    I must say that I still oppose this whole domain-in-native-characters thingy. The internet has once connected people, now we are dividing them again.

    The characters used until now were a very nice common basis: Every computer supported them, they could be entered directly from any keyboard. But how is a European supposed to enter a Hanzi domain printed on the back of a product?”

    It may be good for those whose native languages use Roman letters but what about the rest of us?

    More likely than not, companies would end up having multiple domain names, like manny companies do today, and would be forwarded to each other or maybe redirected to language specific websites. For example, apple.com will take your to the US site while ??.com takes you to the Apple Taiwan website. So chances are, your example wouldn’t even be an issue.

    “dl7und said:

    Well, at least phishers will love this, now they have easier ways to lure their victims to copies of real sites. No typos necessary, just replace a letter with a similar one from another script…”

    Phishers will always exist, just like any other types of criminals. If you are careless or stupid enough to be fooled, you probably deserve what’s coming to you.

  6. Pingback: Pinyin news » Chinese characters: Like, wow.

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