TEXT OF STORY
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.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.