This weekend only, get a Marketplace zip–up hoodie when you donate $8/month. Don’t wait — this offer ends at midnight Sunday!
Bill Radke: The Internet address goes global. The company that acts as the world’s clearinghouse for Internet domains is a California-based non-profit called ICANN. Reporter Kurt Achin says ICANN is about to help the Web speak the local language around the world.
Kurt Achin: Up until now, Internet users have had to type out web page URLs using the Roman alphabet.
But on Friday, ICANN’s board — meeting here in Seoul — is expected to change all that, when it votes to introduce what’s called “Internationalized Domain Names.” Within a year or two, Web users will be able to type out their favorite Web addresses using Chinese characters, Korean hangeul, Arabic script, and so on.
Rebecca MACKINNON: The Internet is no longer dominated by English speakers anymore.
Rebecca Mackinnon is a Hong Kong University professor specializing in Internet governance. She says about one and a half billion people now use the Internet. Most are university graduates who are comfortable with the Roman alphabet. But the world’s next online generation looks a little different.
MACKINNON: Really the next billion Internet users are increasingly going to be peasant farmers in far western China, who maybe didn’t graduate from grade school.
Friday’s vote is expected to create a boom for companies that register domain names — as well as a lot of legal headaches in deciding who has the right to register certain addresses.
In Seoul, I’m Kurt Achin for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.