Email TLD compatibility: universal acceptance long overdue

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Dated software and hardware is unable to recognise new generic top level domains (gTLDs) which can cause big problems if you're using one in your email address. But here's an important step consumers and registrars can take together to ensure Universal Acceptance of domain-specific email addresses

New gTLD compatibility issues

Maybe we shouldn't publish this post as it could be somewhat detrimental to our business. But, as we have always chosen to be transparent with you, here it is.

As you know, the new Internet extensions initiative was decided in 2009 and, as of 2013, numerous new domain extensions have been added to the Internet root.

These new extensions have many advantages. They can be catchy, meaningful, and are often easier to acquire than over-crowded .COM or .NET legacy extensions. But, as with any “new technology”, compatibility can be an issue.

And, of course, in the case of these new extensions, it is.

Is the gTLD in your email address recognised?

Along with most of my colleagues, I'm rocking a new domain name extension for my personal use, including my email address. But herein lies the rub.

Trying to use a new gTLD in an email address can prove difficult as many service providers have not yet updated their system to recognise them as valid extensions.

Consequently, you may not be able to use your new email address, even if it’s perfectly functional, and will have to maintain a backup address such as the one from your ISP or, worse, the Hotmail address you’ve used since you were a teen and still haven't deleted for some reason.

In order to have service providers update their system, you can use social networks and vent like this author. (Sometimes it works.)

Or you can take a saner approach and alert the Universal Acceptance steering group who will then formally contact the reported service providers.

Universal Acceptance of gTLDs long overdue

The Universal Acceptance steering group recently met to discuss their progress at ICANN 58, which took place in Copenhagen from March 11th - 16th.

The steering group’s objective is, of course, broader than just allowing domain hipsters to use their .LOL email addresses for their Twitter accounts.

In fact, the objective "is to help software developers and website owners understand how to update their systems to keep pace with an evolving domain name system (DNS)."

For example, the group has recently reported on NIXI, the registry behind .IN, and the progress it is making towards Universal Acceptance. NIXI announced that it will launch . bhart (.भारत) in numerous Indian languages so as to provide native scripts to a community which is particularly multilingual.

The steering group has closely followed the registry’s collaborations with an email address internalisation service (EAI) as well as local and global digital service providers to ensure that these domains function properly in email addresses and are universally recognised.

Tracking EAI compliance and addressing Universal Acceptance issues like these ensures that the steering group is able to create a more open Internet, one that embraces all languages and technologies, including domain names.

All domain extensions should be treated equally

There’s no doubt that gTLDs have become increasingly accepted. Case in point: in the past three years, we’ve seen how social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have come to consider them as valid.

Therefore, we strongly believe that, at this point, there is no reason why domain-specific email addresses shouldn't be universally recognised. We encourage you to help make this a reality.

The Universal Acceptance steering group invites you to get involved. To learn more about the group and how you can help, please visit their website today.

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