Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 2)

Japanese IDNs - How they really workThis is part two of our writeup and perspective on IDNs, especially double byte Japanese domain names. See Part One (where we went into some detail of explaining the history of the technology surrounding IDNs) before reading on. Without going into too much more history or spurting out much more technical jargon, lets explore some day to day aspects of double byte domains, how they are (or rather aren’t) used, and why they just aren’t the glowing future of Japanese internet real estate that initially they may seem to be.

As explained in part one, IDNs rely completely on your PC’s local Internet browser software to convert that Japanese domain name into a real single byte domain name. If you don’t understand what that means, it means アニメ.com (anime.com) is not actually アニメ.com at all, it is xn--cck5dwc.com. Yes, that’s right, it gets converted into our beloved combination of 37 Latin characters, even before it leaves your computer! If you are not using the latest internet browser software, then sorry, you are left at the front gate, because only the latest versions translate アニメ.com properly for you… that is, unless you are the lucky autistic one among us who is more comfortable with remembering xn--1sqt31d.com as a homepage address! (Take a look at the site 価格.jp, strangely, they display their domain name in Japanese, AND the real domain name – www.xn--1sqt31d.jp – in the title of their page!)

On the other side of the “internet tubes”, at the destination of your command (or message), it is servers that form the foundations of internet infrastructure. We are all working on servers whether we realise it or not. 70% of servers on the internet run unix. You are using unix now when you read this homepage, and likely to be when you check your email, or stream some (raunchy?) video down through bittorrent. For those who have ever dabbled in setting up their own unix internet server (or Windows server for that matter!), you know that one of the first things that you have to input when doing initial setup is the server’s domain name. A computer has to know who it is, before others can talk to it, and before it can send out information to you. Servers will not accept a double byte characters as their own name. They also will only accept the hallowed combinations of 37 characters and numbers. There is a detailed, but cumbersome JPRS guide to setting up a 日本語.jp domain name on your web server here (PDF).

So, let’s get this straight – your computer doesn’t actually look for internet servers using double byte domain names, it converts them to single byte first, (if you are lucky – this person commenting on the part one found one example where the conversion doesn’t go quite as expected), and servers wont recognize their “internationalized nickname” except for in its garbled 37 character state. But, Japanese people like using their own language on computers right? Well, it seems not so, at least when it comes to typing domain names.

The point being missed here is that Japanese people, simply don’t use kanji domain names. Internationalized Domain Names, or “IDNs” have now been around for just over 4 years. Kakaku.com (huge electronics price comparison site) was one of the first to stake their claim by snapping up 価格.com (actually xn--1sqt31d.com) in the fear that someone would take it from them. But the vast majority of Japanese computer users kept using the “romaji” – kakaku.com. Why? Well, in Japan, apart from the dying breed of post baby boomers with their yokomoji allergies, young people (the majority of computer users) here are actually extremely comfortable with typing in domain names in romaji – as opposed to the Chinese, who feel that using their own double-byte language as easier.

An interesting article on whether or not Japanese people actually want kanji IDNs found at Japaninc notes:

…Japanese who don’t use the Internet don’t do so because they are not familiar with computers, not because they are unfamiliar with English. The Internet itself is already Japanese capable — software menus and commands have long since been localized, and a universe of online information is already available in Japanese. You don’t really have to know English to use the Internet, you just need to know how to type. In fact, entering words in Japanese is often more complicated than entering them in English…

Although the article itself is not so new, the point remains. People in Japan who are not net savvy, generally the elderly, and young kids, are that way because they do not understand the concept of the Internet, and computers in general, and not because they can not tackle 26 characters of the alphabet.

For many Japanese who do consider themselves Internet capable, the factor that holds them back from IDNs is the henkan, or conversion factor. To actually get to 価格.com using its IDN, you have to type the following key strokes into your browser’s address bar:

1. “kakaku”

2. SPACE (to convert “kakaku” into 価格)

3. ENTER (to tell the computer that 価格 is actually the correct kanji out of several possibilities. Thank god 価格 was the first choice.)

4. HANKAKU/ZENKAKU key (to convert input method back into romaji to enter the single byte TLD, the .com part)

5. and then finally the “.com” on the end. You end up tapping the keyboard that many more times to get to the exactly the same site, not to mention that your computer then has to translate what you typed back to a convoluted single byte web address!. Less tapping is better and surely more user friendly – romaji here is clearly the better choice.

The above example using 価格.com is an easy one though. Imagine if you owned 孝治.com (孝治 is read koji, a common name in Japan). Step 2. above took thirteen taps of the space bar for me to find the correct kanji character. There are tens of thousands of Japanese words with same reading, but different characters.

What about non-Japanese people, living outside of Japan? In Western countries the hurdle is not just having to tap the keyboard excessively, or a browser compatibility issue. It is a Japanese language input issue. Without the ability to choose to input double-byte characters (IME) which needs to be installed (it is not automatically included with English windows). Even when you do have IDN support in IE6 (yes IE6 also sketchily supports kanji domain names in my tests), IE7, or maybe Firefox, if you are unable to TYPE Japanese, which is the case most English windows machines, then you cant type double byte characters and therefore you are blocked from accessing IDN websites… If you are a domain owner, it really doesn’t seem to be the brightest thing to do for your international users. This is probably a no-brainer anyway as most smart companies would make sure they have the romaji version of the site (kakaku.com) registered before they embarked on trying to woo the yokomoji-phobic generation with its double byte cousin (価格.com) or there would be no point right? Who in their right mind would try to build a business with 会社.com without also owning kaisha.com, and risking loosing a large percent of their business to Japanese users who are going to enter it in romaji first anyway.

Japanese IDNs do have a better appearance on some search results - SEO
Japanese domain name URLs are displayed intact by some large search engines

There is only one point that should be considered here. That is, that owning 会社.com along with kaisha.com would likely increase the SEO value of your content in search engine eyes, as the big names like google.com and baidu.com do appear to be indexing the IDNs as double byte words. Google search results in the picture to the left, clearly show Japanese domain name URLs in Japanese script. Whether this is beneficial for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) remains a mystery however, with a Google search for 新宿駅shinjuku station” showing 7 romaji domain names above 新宿駅.com in my browser.

Tim Romero, a Tokyo-based serial entrepreneur, however has the final say on this topic. He wrote this piece about the dirtier side of these so called Internationalized Domain Names way back in Feb 2001, only months after double byte domain names were widely available for general registration. In hindsight, how very right he was. The bottom line – which is something that can not be ignored – is that Internationalized Domain Names are another means for the huge domain registries like ICANN (that sell domain names to companies which in turn sell them to you and I) to play on the fear of companies and individuals in order to line their own pockets with cash. They charge what the market can bear, and will sell you anything they can. .jp domain names for example, cost around 10 times more than .com ones, for no particular reason. Internationalized Domain Names are superficial eye candy, patched on top of a solid Internet foundation to lure short sighted consumers, with the proverbial corporate noose around their necks. I will leave you with Tim’s full article. Despite being old, it really is a great read considering how right his predictions turned out to be:

Last December domain registrars the world over began accepting registrations for double-byte domain names. Until now, domain names have been restricted to standard ASCII characters, but the new domains allow names in Japanese, Korean, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters as well.

Proponents claim that double-byte domain names will help break down language barriers, increase the amount of multilingual content on the Internet, and make it easier for non-English speakers to use the Net. I admit that I am rather cynical by nature, but as far as I can tell, these new domains serve only to line the pockets of the domain registrars and provide no substantive benefit to the Internet community.

Contrary to the claims of some proponents, restricting domain names to ASCII letters, numbers and a few punctuation marks is not a linguistic or cultural issue. It is simply a way of ensuring interoperability. Just about every international standard in existence, from ISO country designations to airport call letters, restricts itself to similar characters.

The characters in question can be entered using almost any computer system on the planet and, as such, they represent a least common denominator. The characters do, of course, come from English alphabet, but you would be hard pressed to convince any Japanese that “Mitsubishi” is not a Japanese word, or that entering www.mitsubishi.com into a browser is anything but trivial. In fact, to enter Mitsubishi’s double-byte domain requires that it first be entered in ASCII letters and then converted to Japanese characters. The new domains are actually harder to use in that sense.

Japanese domain names - scam to line the pockets of registrarsThe winners here are not non-English-speaking Internet users, but the domain name registrars. Companies who held ASCII domains are now forced to register multiple double-byte variants to protect their brands. As a result, the registration of these new domains has proceeded with all the clam and order of a gold rush.

Over a million domains were registered in the first month at prices ranging from $35 to $100/year. Keep in mind that these figures are not a one-time charge. The domain holders will have to pay a like amount each and every year to maintain the rights to those domains. And, if that were not enough guaranteed annual revenue, Network Solutions has announced that it will soon be accepting domain registrations in Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. More languages will follow whenever they feel the need to add a few hundred million dollars in recurring revenue to their bottom line.

It’s rather tempting to shrug this whole thing off as one big corporation squeezing other big corporations for relatively paltry sums. However, there is a bigger issue here. We might be seeing the beginning of the Balkanization of the Internet.

Removing the least common denominator requirement effectively partitions off portions of the Internet. I can’t even give examples of the new domain names because most of my readers’ will be unable to display them, let alone visit them. Sites using a double-byte domain will be effectively unreachable by the majority of Internet users.

It can be argued that this is not a problem since a web site with a Japanese domain name will be in Japanese, but current trends speak against that claim. More and more sites are multilingual. I suppose a different domain could be used for each language supported, but I fail to see any advantage in such a scheme.

The Internet, however, is more than the Web, and it certainly seems likely that employees of a Japanese company with a double-byte domain name will need to communicate with a someone whose computer does not support Japanese. Likewise, there will be those outside Japan who will want to download a file from a Japanese FTP server. Double-byte domains will make this difficult. Fortunately, for the moment, the new domain names do not work with email or FTP.

The most amazing aspect of the Internet, that from which all else springs is ease and freedom of communication: The ability for a person in Minsk to communicate with someone in Osaka, Dallas, Seoul or Johannesburg. Double-byte domain names hinder this ability since they can only be entered by computers running a specific language. Extensive use of these new domains will effectively prevent communication between individuals who find themselves behind the walls of their national domain name schemes. Hardly the World-Wide Web we have come to know.

Any questions or comments are welcome below. I am especially looking forward to people in the other side of the Japanese IDN fence to tell me why they think I am wrong. Apart from the potential SEO value of IDNs (mentioned in the article), what else do Japanese Kanji domain names have going for them? Can they be used in email addresses yet? I couldn’t test this, as my email client (Thunderbird) told me that the address I entered as invalid when I tried to send a mail to [email protected]ヒルズ族.com to get some pricing information.. 🙂

85 thoughts on “Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 2)”

  1. does that mean that if the IDN people design a URL system where 日本。コム works then you’d be happy? I do agree about the bit about pressing the 変換 key being a pain in the arse. Is there any reason why the bit after the dot has to be English? (I have no idea about PC related stuff hence this is an honest question). Could you have 日本。会社 or 日本ドット組織 etc?

  2. Keeping things how they are because that’s how they are is rubbish, nothing would ever change. Had the people who made the first networks been able to have the foresight to see how massive the net would get, it *should* have been written to cope with some sort of double byte standard, say unicode, it’s been around for a while and is nice and standard. It wasn’t though, so now we have to hack around it to get the IDN’s and the solution so far seems to be as good as can be done for now. However it’s definately something that should change, for anyone who want it, and there’s probably a lot more than just old people who haven’t been ‘forced’ to use romanji for years, such as:

    “the Chinese, who feel that using their own double-byte language as easier.”

    There’s an awful lot of Chinese people, who would like (expect?) to type in their native script.

    There are a lot of problems, I don’t know if unicode has enough space for every character of every script in the world (it might?), maybe some overlap, etc. etc. but because a problem is hard, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

    If you ask me only having 37 characters in the first place is a bit stingy, there’s ton’s of characters that are in use in English (!”£$%^&*() and so on) that have no real reason for not working in URLs other than because of a decision a long long time ago (in computer years anyway).

  3. >> Richmond: TLD’s (top-level domains), or the .com part of domain names are currently only available in Latin characters. I guess the reason why ICANN and the other registrars don’t make TLD’s double byte is simple. It would be too much trouble, as it would mean that they would have to change many settings in their databases of domain names, which can currently only handle 4 digits (although there are no, or very few 4 digit ones alive, and they are very restricted). You can see a list of TLDs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains

    「。コム」would use more than 4 bytes after it is converted to “punycode”, and therefore would require huge infastructure changes. They would also have to register 「.コム」 etc for when people got it wrong… The sheer complexity of making double-byte TLDs is exactly why we should avoid double byte IDNs at all. Japanese can be patched onto the DNS system now for normal domains, but it would just not be possible with TLDs. Anyone got any info on this?

    >> Chris: You are right, this article is focused on Japanese IDNs in particular (as mentioned several times in the text above). I can not speak for the Chinese market at all, please fill us in on the situation in the rest of the Kanji world!

    By the way, *?%& and other symbols have different meanings in computers. They definitely could not be used in domain names. They are used widely in what are called regexs, or Regular Expressions. Do a Google search, and see how it uses the question mark, and other charters in the URL after you search, they are used like regexs to string the URL together. It would be very confusing not only for people, but for servers if regexs were part of domain names!

  4. I don’t know about the rest of the kanji speaking world to say anything, but they (and those that use hangul, thai, arabic etc.) add up to a lot of people who might like to use their own natural language.

    I’m aware that regex uses all the funny symbols, as do lots of other protocols for other things, but URLs aren’t regexes, or other protocols; they are, at a very basic level, strings into a lookup table – as you said in part one. If a DNS server is taking a URL and trying to use it as a raw regex, then there’s something even more wrong with the internet than I thought! Even if that is the case, a server can very simply escape the special characters so that they can be used and treated as a normal string.

  5. OK, this time, the article wasn’t even balanced enough to warrant a long response from me. Articles from 2000 is all you have got? Please!

    In my prior post I explained Japanese domain names sufficiently, the answers are all still there. This is a laughable and insular post from a gaijin for consumption by other gaijins. And I’m not talking about the ones we like, I’m talking about the ones we merely tolerate in our country and to whom we nod our heads and say sarcastically, “oh you know Japan so well” and that you’re “japanese is SO good, even better than Japanese”. Believe what you will, as they say, it is no skin off my back.

    Hirata

  6. maybe MSFT can solve that problem by adding a button for “.com” to future keyboards…? Put it next to the windows key.

  7. Yeah sure WRD. Get your gaijin arse off your cocky horse. I bet you’re about as Japanese as that prick who stole my handle on the last article and thought he could get away with it because he was using Kanji. What a prick he obviously is. Why do I know? Because I wasted 5 seconds of my day by clicking on his link to ヒルズ族.com. What a joke – it’s filled with ads for English websites. How many Japanese people do you think are gonna click on a bunch of irrelevant links. If you wanna pretend you’re Japanese then at least be smart enough to learn how to display 日本語 ads on your page. I might add that yours isn’t much better. Go back to Cameroon. If you’re so Japanese why is your homepage filled with English ads. Konnichiwaaaa? dare ka uchi ni imasu kaaaaaa?

  8. >> hills-zoku: You seem to have hit the nail on the head. But allow me to do some ho-sock.

    >> WRD: I don’t think the article is laughable at all. Could you tell us what parts were laughable for you?

    It is strange that you are not even located in Japan (yes, I know) yourself. It is normally irrelevant where people post comments from, but in your case, you Hirata are residing in my country! I could not help but mention how ludicrous such a an intolerant comment as yours sounds, when you yourself are a gaijin, posting from a country other than your own. (Unless you are a pseudo Japanese? Are you really Japanese? Come on Mr. Hirata… tell us the truth).

    Your posts on the previous article (here) are a little better, although with no data to backup your statistics and subjective views whatsoever, they remain questionable. How can you seriously say that “Internet Explorer owns over 95% of the Japanese market”? That immediately told me that your statistics are flawed, and I didn’t even bother responding to your first post. How can IE have 95% of the browser market in Japan, if only 90% of people use windows? What about the ever increasing number of Windows users browsing with Firefox? Windows users take 90% of the share of Internet browsing in Japan, but just one year ago, that figure was 97%. Now, (even though this sounds a little exaggerated) the same site is revealing that some specialists think that the share could decrease to as little as 58%. Although I do not believe the 58% figure, it is clear that IE7 isn’t going as well as MS hoped, and that IE is on a steady decline, loosing its monopoly (earned only by good marketing, and not on functional merit, which can never be sustainable) to the other browsers worldwide. The worldwide usage of IE is now at a mere 79%, and although this may not yet be the case in Japan, the same trend will hit here too, just like they always do, a year or two after the rest of the world. So just stop pinning the future of IDNs on the proliferation of IE7. It is not healthy for your cause.

    As you said in your previous comment, “Controversy is welcome”, but stupid, subjective, and unfounded statistics to protect your own shaky Internet real-estate “investment” are not. I still have yet to hear about a Japanese IDN (that is not a company name) selling for any large sum of money. The “My domain name makes 3 USD a day” comments that we have so far hardly show the value of IDN investment. (unless “n” = a triple figure value!).

    Do you have any real points to tell us why you think IDNs will succeed? I mean succeed, not just survive. Things that succeed are universally taken up within markets (Google, Toyota, Unix), things that survive are farts in a bath – they quickly rise to the surface, linger for some time, and then pop, and linger some more until the next generation comes (Windows, IE, Tamagocchis). Don’t get me wrong, I think IDNs will never go away (think lingering fart), there will always be a minority that use them. But they will never succeed in any true sense. If you think that they will, then take off your I’m Japanese mask, and tell us why. I not only have said many times that I wish you to prove me wrong, I actually wish for you to do so, with some real facts and figures – it’d make my day, really.

  9. Blue, it would be nice if you substantiated your own remarks and as to date you have haven’t really supported your most important statement, namely that they will not “succeed in any true sense”. You’re most valid and best argument is that at present idn’s are inputted at first as romaji. What if your romaji input’s were automatically followed by kanji selection options ? Wouldn’t that make the romaji-domains glorified back-ups for input errors ?

    You forget however an important input method of the future; voice-recognition, that will invalidate your argument completely because toyota is then directly translated to it’s japanese representation, as it should be for those who choose to write in their language. Are you then going to argue that the japanese people would rather write in romaji if there was a good alternative to write in kanji ? Maybe you should put up a poll for that, or maybe you shouldn’t because it would destroy your argument because it will show that japanese (like most people on this planet) like to input their thoughts in the language they’re most comfortable with. What, are you now going to demand I give you figures for that ? Get real, that’s a reasonable assumption, more reasonable than stating real japanese domain names will not succeed in the future because AT PRESENT there’s an input difficulty.

    Also, you’re being irreasonable about the %95, you yourself claim (and nothing more than that) that it was %97 only a year ago and supposedly it is down to %90 which makes your rant about it being a false claim nothing more than staring blind at the dots when the words are the same. The message that was conveyed with the IE-story was that basically IDN couldn’t have succeeded because of the major user-barrier, even if people were made aware of IDN’s they couldn’t use it in their favorite browser. It seems to me that you have been selective in choosing the meaning of those words, the figures speak for themselves, whether is %90 or %99.

    Don’t forget that besides the fact that IDN’s couldn’t be inputted they haven’t been promoted to end-users significantly (or at all untill recently), maybe you should put up a poll to investigate IDN-penetration ?

    What would have been you’re argument that say Google would ‘succeed’ (as yet undefined) over all other search engines before it actually happened ?

    Hype my friend is the starting ground for things to ‘succeed’ and often there’s no solid argument for something to be popular other than people wanting to be part of it.
    But hey, you already know this is not a hype, hypes don’t last more than a decade and hypes don’t have large non-governmental organisations who ensure it’s development and deployment.

    You’re kicking against the powers to be as if it is already in place, thanks for reassuring that idn’s will dominate in national markets. Do you have many japanese ASCII-domains perhaps ?

    Repeating a claim doesn’t make it more valid, it’s just getting more and more irritating to hear it.

  10. ヒルズ族.com is parked awaiting development. The server detects where you are located via your IP address and dynamically shows you content for that region. If you are in Japan, it shows you a Japanese page. However, there are cases where IP address to geographical mapping doesn’t work – such as when companies route blocks of their US address space to Japan – in this case you can see an English page.

    It’s pretty easy to just park the domain while awaiting development, and earn some revenue here and there. Since you posted them on your first article, you’ve been doing the equivalent of buying me a beer each day. Thanks! Disclaimer to my parking provider: I was not asked and did not have prior knowledge that my domains would be linked from the article.

    As for the IDN site which I did develop, but won’t leave a link for, it’s climbing in yahoo rankings and now earning over $25 a day at spot 8 with just under 3500 visitors yesterday.


    ヒルズ族

  11. ヒルズ族 (not sure how to say that, just did copy&paste):
    I have followed the thread since the last article, but I had to break my silence here. Telling the author that you “have a domain that earns 25$/day while it sits on its behind” doing nothing is like telling your friend about a fish that gets away. I don’t believe you. Until I can look it up on alexa.com and see for myself, I don’t believe you. You sound to be just hiding some fact to prove a point.

    Bramiozo:
    Author’s numbers look well backed up to me. Check the links behind them. (I couldn’t read the Japanese ones, but Google translate helped me, and they seem to check out). You have to admit, numbers are good to have when you are trying to get across a point.

    By the way, how will your voice recognition idea go when you are trying to get it to recognise “koji.com” (in Japanese) as Blue points out in his article? Wouldn’t it just pick the wrong “koji” and be incredibly frustrating? I don’t get how voice recognition helps. I have never been to Japan, but I have a Japanese girl here in Europe. She even said that there is more than one Toyota. One is トヨタ (car), and one is 豊田 (city) (she typed that, not me, but Ill take her word that they are pronounced the same way). How will your voice recognition know whether you are after the car site, or the site for the city of Toyota (Google maps shows me that it is near Nagoya)?

    Regarding your comment, “it will show that Japanese (like most people on this planet) like to input their thoughts in the language they’re most comfortable with”, Unfortunately, URLs are not “thoughts”. They are URLs. People are still writing their thoughts in German, and URLs in Latin characters where I come from too.

    Oh, also, you’re being *irreasonable* with your spelling (and I’m not even native English speaker).

    Stippy people: Maybe you need a new polls, for spelling contests.

  12. Let me get to the points of your post, for one I was talking primarily about his claims with relation to the success of idn’s, a mere reference to a number is not “backing up” a claim if the number itself doesn’t back up his claim. The whole point of mentioning IE7 penetration had to do with the fact that IE6(and lower versions) has been the major browser throughout the timeline of IDN and was therefore an obstruction for it’s success because these versions were not IDN-compatible. Furthermore, the current direction of the IE market share is of lesser importance because the gap is filled by IDN-compatible browsers like Safari, Firefox and Opera.

    Secondly, at present upon entering romaji it is possible that you will be given several spelling options (as mentioned by blue), why wouldn’t this be possible with voice recognition? My point is that the argument of blue is only valid if romaji has to be entered directly (if at all) and is therefore invalidated if a technology like voice recognition takes hold.

    Thirdly, you logic is flawed when it comes to URL’s because they are not perceived as an abbreviation for a certain technology but as an address, an identity, a location. This is almost a philosofical issue, but I assume that in normal use URL’s are not actively perceived as the ASCII representations of an IP-address, seems like common consumer sense.

    Besides, German is written in latin characters with some extended latin characters, the Germans do not have to adept to a different characterset when they want to visit a website, the japanese do. I don’t want to dissappoint you but the most popular language when it comes to IDN sales is German, you may monitor http://sedo.com or you can look at the sales list I keep at http://idntools.net/idnsales.php.

    Fourthly, why don’t you ask ヒルズ族 for details or screenshots instead of bluntly stating that you don’t believe him, at least give someone the benefit of the doubt before you call him a liar. Let me ask it for you, ヒルズ族 please give something to backup your claim. Thanks.

    What have I missed here that you display such rudeness ? Spelling errors ?
    Let me guarantee you that people have never commented on the quality of my writing and if they did I would expect something of respect or at least tact. No, english is not my native language either and maybe I did make odd mistakes but frankly I don’t see the point of referring to someones spelling errors when I understand perfectly well what he or she tries to convey. Did I make any mistakes here mr.Webster ?

  13. Bramiozo wrote:

    Fourthly, why don’t you ask ヒルズ族 for details or screenshots instead of bluntly stating that you don’t believe him, at least give someone the benefit of the doubt before you call him a liar. Let me ask it for
    you, ヒルズ族 please give something to backup your claim. Thanks.

    I would gladly post a link to a screenshot of my Adsense account, but disclosing earnings details other than totals is prohibited by Google’s Adsense Terms and Conditions:
    https://www.google.com/adsense/static/en_US/LocalizedTerms2.html

    Blame Google about their secrecy policy, not me. I’m not going to risk losing my Adsense account just to make somebody else happy.

    ヒルズ族

  14. QUOTE : They charge what the market can bear, and will sell you anything they can. .jp domain names for example, cost around 10 times more than .com ones, for no particular reason END QUOTE

    Above quote from your article is not correct (not to mention your shortsighted analysis about the future of IDNs).

    A 1 year registration for .com are about $ 7 each per year.
    A 1 year registrtion for .jp are about $ 6 to $7 a year.

    You CAN pay more for each, but above is the basic market prices at dynadot.com and domainsite.com for idn.com, and value-domain.com for .jp

    http://www.value-domain.com

    Note from Blue: Thanks for the link Bill. Seems you found a cheaper site than I did. But, why are IDNs like 日本語.jp only 660 yen, and romaji.jp is a whopping 3690 yen?? Its not 10 times more, but almost 6. My point stands, there is no logical reason why these two types of .jp domain names should be different prices other than registries charging as much as possible, to fatten their wallets as fast as they can. It is criminal. (Yes, yes, market economy.. I know). Anymore insight on my “shortsighted analysis about the future of IDNs” would be helpful please.

  15. All very interesting really.

    I will state up front that I do not know the first thing about this topic, and my spelling can be suspect at times. Please be nice to me anyway.

    People certainly seem to have very strong opinions about this whole topic…especially the IDN owners amongst us. Funny. I wouldn’t have picked that one coming! 🙂

  16. Eugen –> If you ask the Stippy author to make a poll like the one you suggested, tell them to consider adding grammar contests as well. The article is full of grammatical errors.

    I wasted my time reading a poorly written article, and now I’ve wasted my time reading comments like yours where you attack people for spelling errors.

    It seems to me that this entire site was a waste of time, and is nothing more than a lame dating site sprinkled with the ramblings of a “writer” who likes to listen to himself talk (or at least read his words in print) too much.

    Note from Blue: I’m getting a bit sick of replying to people like you. You call the article flawed, or rambling, or poorly written without actually telling us what is factually wrong with our argument. The same people spamming us with these useless comments have the gall to use the opportunity to put a link to their websites on stippy. IDNcyclopedia? Where do you people get off. No more spammers please.

  17. “I’m getting a bit sick of replying to people like you. You call the article flawed, or rambling, or poorly written without actually telling us what is factually wrong with our argument. The same people spamming us with these useless comments have the gall to use the opportunity to put a link to their websites on stippy. IDNcyclopedia? Where do you people get off. No more spammers please.”

    First of all, my comment never mentioned your argument at all. I believe I said the article was poorly written, not that the argument was poorly stated. You have grammatical, structural and stylistic issues throughout. I couldn’t care less about how you put forth your argument; in the long run, what you think about IDNs (or what I think, for that matter) isn’t going to make any kind of difference in whether or not they succeed.

    Also, If you don’t want people to inculde a link to their sites, don’t give them the option (I linked to a different site this time, though, since you didn’t seem to like IDNcyclopedia.com).

  18. I had a look at some of the double byte domains that these guys who are spamming the site are trying to sell, and also some others around and about. Actually, for the most part, their whole sites are spam. They use a keyword in the URL to get into search results, and then the site content itself is rubbish. I dont believe google is so stupid (or will continue being so for long) to rank their pages so highly based on a url keyword alone…

    Why are most of the people that are into 日本語ドメイン名 all foreigners anyway. I cant find much heated discussion amongst Japanese people on this subject. Are they the ones that supposedly are wanting them? Most of the famous domain names are not English or Japanese keywords at all, they are brand names right?

    Jesse:
    “If you don’t want people to inculde a link to their sites”
    I think links are generally welcome, but to personal or more relevant sites. Anyway, I see stippy is using “nofollow” tags for external links in comments… It means it wont do anything for your google ranking anyway, you twat.

  19. “It means it wont do anything for your google ranking anyway, you twat.”

    Wow, another example of the fine minds here at Stippy.

    I wasn’t trying to get a free backlink by commenting, I simply added a URL to a website in the “Website” field.

    “I think links are generally welcome, but to personal or more relevant sites.”

    I don’t know what’s more relevant to a discussion on IDNs than a site about IDNs (like I added in my first post), but again, it doesn’t matter. Fighting on the internet is stupid. I’m not going to end my comment predictably, calling you a moron who is incapabale of original thought, who jumps on the “me too” bandwagon with a rehashed comment and a typical name-calling at the end. I refuse to be predictable in that way.

  20. “Most of the famous domain names are not English or Japanese keywords at all, they are brand names right?”

    I missed this the first read-through, Tweeted. That is not completely the case. While I will agree that many people are aware of brand name domains (like Google, Yahoo, Pepsi, etc.) that is because of the massive amounts of money that has been pumped into branding them.

    What we’re talking about (and I mean “we” as in domainers, but also as in consumers, advertisers, marketers, content providers, etc.) is something called direct navigation.

    This means that, when someone decides that they want to go shopping for a motorcycle, they type “Motorcycle.com” in the URL field, instead of doing a Google search for “motorcycle.” This kind of direct traffic is pure gold, because it is ultra-targeted and usually very qualified.

    While type-in traffic is not currently the norm in the Japanese web-surfing experience, it is expected that that will change with the use of generic, Japanese-language domains that are easily memorable.

  21. Tweeted wrote:
    It means it wont do anything for your google ranking anyway, you twat.

    Hills-Zoku wrote:
    Yeah sure WRD. Get your gaijin arse off your cocky horse. I bet you’re about as Japanese as that prick who stole my handle on the last article and thought he could get away with it because he was using Kanji. What a prick he obviously is.

    ********

    How old are you guys, anyway? I may have mistakenly suspected that we were all in the over 21 age group here. Didn’t your english teacher ever tell you that profanity is the literary crutch of the inarticulate mother f**ker? Oh wait, maybe it was George Carlin who said that…


    ヒルズ族

  22. Been watching this with whole thing with breathless anticipation.
    Very funny really. Wish I had some popcorn.

    Jesse -> “The article is full of grammatical errors.”
    Jesse -> “You have grammatical, structural and stylistic issues throughout. ”
    …wait for it…
    Jesse -> “I missed this the first read-through…”

    Dunno if my old english teacher would have given me points for that sentence.
    Dunno if I’d get points for using “dunno” either; but I digress.

    Typos are the spice of life mate. Lighten up.

  23. Blue, don’t listen to these pricks. You know how many fans of this site there are. Comments get ugly whenever people have a personal financial stake in anything. Like Hideki, I don’t know too much about domain names but I am surprised to see such heated comments and personal attacks over what amounts to a simple difference of opinion.

    Personally, I like how sites like Wikipedia have parts of their URL in Japanese. Sometimes the URL moji-bake’s but I can still see the page. But this is not the domain name itself, right? I personally like domain names in Romaji because I can often figure out how a character is pronounced by googling it and looking at the URL.

    Whether or not international IDN’s are a good investment is beyond me. I wouldn’t put much money into anything but improving search engine results (if I had a website) and doing link-exchanges. Nobody types in URL’s anymore.

  24. Hideki…Kangeki!!!: Sorry, do you prefer “I missed this on the first read-through,” or “The first time I read your comment, I missed the above quoted passage,” instead?

    If you like that sentence structure, great. My comment was to another person who left a comment, not to the person who wrote this article (poorly).

    Either way, maybe you’ll agree that the fact that all this article could do is to produce name-callers and start fights over typos and grammer is testament to its appeal.

    But I agree with you, it’s time to lighten up.

    Ao (the user above) is right: it is a difference of opinion, albeit being written about as though it were fact by someone long-winded who really wouldn’t be the end-user of these types of domains anyway. To get worked up over such a silly little article really does no good for anyone.

    The bottom line is this: Japanese domain names are in use, and more people are becoming aware of them on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter what I say, or what ヒルズ族 says, or Eugen or Tweeted or Stippy Blue for that matter – the consumer (read: web-surfer) will ultimately be the deciding factor, and from the looks of the traffic and revenue trends, the votes are starting to come in.

    So, as Hideki…Kangeki!!! said, let’s lighten up. I’ll be the first to start over: If anyone wants to learn more about these domains (and/or domains in other languages) and how to invest in them, just let me know. Don’t take my word for it (and definitely don’t take the article writer’s word for it). Find out for yourself and make an informed decision.

  25. Bramiozo said “Are you then going to argue that the japanese people would rather write in romaji if there was a good alternative to write in kanji ? ”

    I assume that you realize that the majority of Japanese computer users do in fact input in romaji ? They do not input in hiragana even though it is possible. And most computers do not provide any way to accept kanji input (I’m not saying that handwriting recognition is not possible just that it is not common).

    My point is that people input in romaji. So that part of blue’s article is correct.

    How do you propose for people to “write in kanji” on a computer keyboard ?

  26. Bramiozo also said: “it will show that japanese (like most people on this planet) like to input their thoughts in the language they’re most comfortable with”.

    All I know is that Japanese people like to input their thoughts in romaji. What language do you think romaji are in ? Romaji input is a form of Japanese. It’s not English.

    And as for your voice recognition idea can you imagine what a Japanese office would be like if everyone was using voice recognition ? Plus how can someone talk on the phone and input at the same time if they are using voice recognition ? It’s just not practical.

  27. I would say that is incorrect, if you compare romaji to hiragana/katakana/kanji in terms of amount of searches/month romaji is insignificant, this is fact. You can use http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/?mkt=jp and http://www.google.com/trends to compare term popularity, this is what people enter in the search fields.

    It is not about the language but about the characterset, I can see that romanization becomes more popular with the increasing popularity of the english language but at the end of the day japanese firms use the japanese characterset for japanese documents and japanese surfers correspond using the japanese characterset.
    Romaji was introduced to aid foreigners in dealing with the language and now japanese use it because of it’s relative ease of use but that is still just a technology barrier and as I pointed out the original charactersets are still prevailing.

    I see your point on voice recognition though :=) .

    For the phonetic scripts you might use a keyboard directly, kanji will be more of a problem, supposedly they have a special keyboard for chinese, a wudi keyboard I think it was called.

  28. Jesse:

    Either way, maybe you’ll agree that the fact that all this article could do is to produce name-callers and start fights over typos and grammer is testament to its appeal.

    Jesse, believe it or not, people don’t comment on articles unless they have some strong feelings about the topic, or have too much time on their hands. Which one are you? They also don’t tend to comment if they didn’t read the article in full. The people commenting here are commenting to try and persuade people, and that is what is called discussion. Unfortunately, some people write very non-persuasive comments, and others have stick&stone fights with swear words that we have to filter through. (Oh, on the subject of spelling, grammar is spelt grammar 🙂 )

  29. Bramiozo – I was only talking about inputting Japanese in general. Years ago as a non-Japanese I used to input in hiragana (incorrectly imagining it was somehow “more Japanese”) until I realized that all my Japanese colleagues input exclusively in romaji.

    I agree that nobody would want to use romaji in a search. (Unless they were specifically looking for the romaji text which would be rather odd).

    I suppose as the so-called Hirata previously said this whole thing depends on how many Japanese people want to just be able to put their search term in 漢字 in the browser address bar and search that way instead of doing what I would do and go to Google (or whatever) Japanese search engine and put my search term in 漢字 in the Google 検索 box and then search via Google.

  30. ヒルズ族さん,

    1) if you’re over 21 why are you too shy to give us a link to your kick arse site. Even Bramiozo agrees. Hell, it would be free traffic and we could pay for 2 real beers a day for you instead of the 発泡酒 we’re shouting you now.

    2) I am married to an ex Miss Universe. She is one of the highest paid models in the world yet her IQ is off the charts and she still has time to enjoy a quiet beer with my friends in the local. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you her name, because that would be breaching her contract with her agency, but please believe me – she really does exist.

    3) please stop using my handle. It’s against net etiquete to steal someones handle, especially when they’ve been commenting on the site for longer than you.

  31. “The people commenting here are commenting to try and persuade people, and that is what is called discussion.”

    That’s exactly my point – I don’t need to persuade you or anyone else here. Your final opinion on the value or worth of IDNs is inconsequential. Because this is your site, you may feel like your opinion on the matter holds more weight, but that is faulty logic.

    Like I stated in my last comment – anyone who would like to form their own opinions just needs to contact me (or some others commenting here, like Bill, Bram, etc.) for a push in the right direction. I am not offering a program or service that anyone has to pay for, just some friendly advice.

    Nice catch on the typo, btw. You got me!

  32. Good point Bruce. There are a bunch of research papers out there suggesting that the vast majority of Japanese people access the internet from their offices. This is one from last year that I found pretty quickly. Would you believe that 7 out of 10 use the internet for private use at work every single day. (pie chart)

    Bramozio, perhaps you haven’t been to a Japanese office before but very few people have private offices. In fact the standard layout has more people per tatami mat than the average ワンルームマンション. I can just imagine the エロおやじ who sits next to me at work facing his PC and saying “週刊ポスト” or “出会い系” every 15 minutes. I don’t know if that is better or worse than the OL sitting one row back who I swear would be saying “ヤフー” every 5 minutes. (She’s one of those people who uses Yahoo to search for Google)

  33. Yawn. There sure are a lot of gaijin know-it-alls here.

    I’ve better things to do than spend time trying to convince know-it-alls that something is already working and popular as can be, such as develop some of my other top domain names and pad my bank account.

    Hills-zoku, if you’re lucky then maybe I’ll let you have a blog and email address from ヒルズ族.com or ヒルズ族.jp someday. You’ll probably need to pay, though.


    ヒルズ族

  34. Speaking of voice recognition, I had a funny experience with a taxi driver who tried to input the destination by using voice recognition. Unfortunately the GPS navigation couldn’t recognize his dialect (he couldn’t pronounce シ and ヒ correctly), and it took ages to get to the right place.

    As for Chinese, people use Pinyin (romaji) to input. For example, 価格 is pronounced as “jiage” in Chinese, so type “jiage”, then SPACE to convert “jiage” into “価格”, which is exactly the same process as Japanese. So romaji or English keyboard would work.

  35. Korean would be one interesting language to analyze since they do not type in roman letters; each key represents one part of a phonetic hangul character.

    I’ve also wondered how Arabic domains would work since the language is written right to left, even on the internet. Just some food for thought… what if East Asian languages still had to be written top to bottom? Then we’d all really be up the creek.

  36. Ok voice recognition is not going to solve the problem but something will at some point, technology progresses and I wouldn’t exactly call this a high-tech problem, that was the reason for mentioning this, voice recognition serves as an example (which is valid outside the office…).
    Your whole argument for romaji as the standard input method in browsers depends on the technology it supports, if all romaji was by default changed to hiragana/katakan/kanji we wouldn’t be having this conversation and again this serves as an example. Romaji is an interface language, originally meant to accomodate foreigners because of the ‘odd’ characterset and now to accomodate the japanese because browsers do not support non-latin charactersets.

    This is exactly the crux of IDN, it takes away the need for romaji as an intermediate solution.

    For me the most important message you send out is basically that you have become so accustomed to writing romaji in the browsers you actually think it is proper japanese which it isn’t. Romaji is a solution to a problem that will dissappear and don’t tell me there isn’t a problem with 125 million japanese being forced to used latin characters because someone in the west forget to incorporate unicode support.

    About the input method, a chinese user on idnforums mentioned that in the browser the characterset is automatically switched when you press the ‘.’ so that takes away one step, is this possible for japanese ?

    Blue suggests that having to select the correct hiragana/katakana/kanji representation from a list is very cumbersome, as an argument against IDN. But how can you justify the ambiguity of romaji if such a list doesn’t appear ? Doesn’t that show exactly why romaji is a weak solution ?

    In pinyin you can have yuan, but also yuan2,yuan3,yuan4 or yuan5, why, because each one has a different pronounciation, you can’t honestly claim that is a proper solution for native chinese ?

  37. Bramiozo – I appreciate that you present your thoughts in a polite and intelligent manner. But it is clear that you don’t know much about the Japanese language and how Japanese is handled by software. For example you say “if all romaji was by default changed to hiragana/katakana/kanji ” tells me that you don’t understand the problem. (I should have pointed out that the same problem applies to your voice recognition idea).

    Anyway the most interesting point I have seen so far is Jesse talking about “direct navigation” (which I think Hirata also mentioned). Jesse says “This means that, when someone decides that they want to go shopping for a motorcycle, they type “Motorcycle.com” in the URL field, instead of doing a Google search for “motorcycle.”

    If this method of browsing becomes common in Japan then as Jesse points out Japanese kanji IDNs could become more prevalent.

    On the other hand how many major American companies actually rely on having a domain like “Motorcycle.com” to promote/sell motorcycles or whatever ?

  38. Motorcycle.com looks to be independent in the sense that it isn’t tied to any one brand, but Motorcycles.com is owned by Honda. Other great examples are Toothpaste.com (Proctor & Gamble), Books.com (Barnes & Noble), Aspirin.com (Bayer), Bras.com and Underwear.com (Calvin Klein), News.com and TV.com (CNET), Money.com (CNN), Movies.com (Disney), and the list goes on and on.

    Imagine the power of owning that generic keyword and having it be instantly tied to your brand every time someone visits – the surfer is looking for a product (meaning they are targeted and a very qualified lead), and when they input a generic keyword, they are delivered directly to your front door. The value of that is nearly priceless!

  39. Japanese actually use a corrupted form of romaji (入力 romaji) when they type, and non-standard romaji often shows up in URL’s (just google fukusima or kyusyu and see how many results you get). Most Japanese do not know Hepburn romaji; they just recognize it due to its presence in their daily lives. The fact that so many botched romaji attempts appear in URL’s shows in my opinion that romaji is just used as a vehicle for producing Japanese script (hiragana, katakana and kanji) and Japanese users may in fact feel more comfortable with Japanese IDN’s. Does this mean Japanese IDN’s are a good idea? Here are the pros and cons as I see them.

    Pros:
    -Will look better and feel better to Japanese users
    -Will increase the amount of domains (sakura.jp taken? Get さくら.jp, 桜.jp, サクラ.jp or even 櫻.jp)
    -Homonyms (such as 孝治) can each get their own domain
    -I imagine that compatibility problems will be solved within a few years (once everyone updates their browsers)

    Cons:
    -They cut off a large percentage of the world’s population, and I can say from experience that many non-Japanese speakers do like to and often need to visit Japanese websites to see pictures on the site, to download something, or to get email addresses, phone numbers, etc etc (there are a lot of reasons if you think about it). They would be unable to type in a URL explained over the phone and printing Japanese URL’s in non-Japanese media would be useless since the readers couldn’t type it in.
    -Even those who know Japanese will be stuck if they’re at someone else’s computer that doesn’t have Japanese input.
    -It takes longer to type Japanese IDN’s and it’s no easier than romaji input for Japanese people (It takes extra strokes as we’ve seen, and anyone who can use a keyboard knows their ABC’s)
    -If they ever become really popular, companies will have to acquire multiple domains (yamadadenki.co.jp, ヤマダ電気.co.jp, 山田電気.co.jp etc.) to ensure their customers don’t go to the wrong site. This will increase the burden on small businesses.

    In conclusion, I see nothing wrong with Japanese script being represented by puny code, since these letters I’m typing right now are actually ASCII; when you break it down it’s all zeros and ones, and if the software can decode it I see no problem. However, I wonder if de-standardizing the internet and cutting off non-Japanese speakers from certain pages is the right step to take. But international IDN’s are out there, and ultimately the market will decide how big a role they eventually play.

  40. “if all romaji was by default changed to hiragana/katakana/kanji ” tells me that you don’t understand the problem. (I should have pointed out that the same problem applies to your voice recognition idea).

    ————-

    What is the problem then ? It is my understanding that japanese input methods do not change the charactersets by default, if they did, this discussion would not take place.

    At present you have to strike extra keys to convert romaji to proper japanese, if that is true I understand the no1 problem.

    My arguments stand and are supported by Ao and to that I would like to add that IDN’s are by definition meant for people who speak that particular language so the market locality is not really a con. Also you may wonder where a non-japanese speaker would ever get an url to a japanese website if it weren’t for copy-pasting/following a link in which case the required input method of the url would be irrelevant.
    Non-japanese media are not important for japanese domains since obviously they are meant for the japanese market so I think that also fails as an argument.
    Discussing url’s over the telephone to non-japanese speakers doesn’t seem very significant, you would normally share links through email/chat/irc/skype/sms and besides , ascii domains often require to be spelled out in which case you might as well spell out the punycode 😉 .

    The most important thing is that IDN’s will pass the radiotest for those that speak the language.

    These are imo solid arguments ;
    ————————————-
    -Even those who know Japanese will be stuck if they’re at someone else’s computer that doesn’t have Japanese input.
    -It takes longer to type Japanese IDN’s and it’s no easier than romaji input for Japanese people (It takes extra strokes as we’ve seen, and anyone who can use a keyboard knows their ABC’s)
    -If they ever become really popular, companies will have to acquire multiple domains (yamadadenki.co.jp, ヤマダ電気.co.jp, 山田電気.co.jp etc.) to ensure their customers don’t go to the wrong site. This will increase the burden on small businesses.
    ————————————-

    The first two are technology dependent and the latter is mostly policy dependent but still, at present they are real barriers for the success of IDN’s

  41. I skipped over most of the bickering comments, but bramiozo has a sensible comment about the difficulties of inputting kanji.. then I thought of what happens when a Mac user who is familiar with Kotoeri or ATOK visits a cybercafe and doesn’t know how to operate the Windows IME. It would be much simpler to just use romaji, it is the lowest common denominator, all computers have English keyboards of some kind or another.

  42. Bramiozo – Sorry for not being clear. The problem is that there are many homophones in Japanese i.e. words with the same sound but a different meaning. This problem is exacerbated by the need to input in romaji (or kana) because the romaji (or kana) only defines a specific sound, it doesn’t define a specific meaning. So when Japanese is written in only romaji (double-gack) or only kana (gack) the meaning is not automatically apparent thus it is very difficult to write software which would as you suggest *automatically* make the *correct* conversion into the appropriate mix of kanji and kana. But there is AFAIK no sensible way yet developed to input on a keyboard directly in normal written Japanese. (Sure touchpads with handwriting recognition do exist but they are not that practical for everyday use). And there is no reliable way to *accurately* toggle between romaji and proper written Japanese with kanji as you seem to be proposing. I wish there was.

    Please understand I don’t mind if double-byte kanji IDNs become common. The market will decide. I just don’t happen to think it’s a step forwards.

  43. Re: bramiozo’s comment: “Also you may wonder where a non-japanese speaker would ever get an url to a japanese website if it weren’t for copy-pasting/following a link in which case the required input method of the url would be irrelevant.
    Non-japanese media are not important for japanese domains since obviously they are meant for the japanese market so I think that also fails as an argument.
    Discussing url’s over the telephone to non-japanese speakers doesn’t seem very significant, you would normally share links through email/chat/irc/skype/sms”

    Just to give some real life examples, I work in a job (info center/customer support) in an English speaking country in which I often send non-Japanese speakers to Japanese websites, usually because there is no English site related to what they’re looking for, and at least they can click through and see pictures (which, by the way, are worth 1000 words each) which helps them make purchasing decisions. Luckily so far all the URL’s I’ve dealt with have been in romaji. If, some day, the URL itself is in Japanese, I’m afraid they’ll just be out of luck, unless I instruct them how to install IME then tell them which romaji to type and how many times to hit the henkan key.

    The obvious answer would be to email them a link. This is fine among friends, but many people are wary of giving out their email to strangers. And although it’s hard to believe, some internet users do not have email addresses (or maybe that’s an excuse because they don’t want to give it to me).

    The same argument could be applied to print media. Perhaps a more concrete example would help. Say an English gardening magazine wants to tell its readers about an amazing bonsai website that’s all in Japanese but has lovely pictures, perhaps of some of the finest bonsais in the business along with step-by-step photos of trimming methods, etc, but the URL is in Japanese (since it’s made for a domestic Japanese audience). The magazine could print the URL, but their English speaking readership would have no idea how to input it.

    Actually, one part of your post basically negates my entire argument but I didn’t notice it until now. Since I already typed this far I’ll go ahead and leave what I’ve typed, but it’s true as you mentioned that as a last resort one could always spell out the punycode. Boy I can just imagine. “x, m… no, m as in mary… 3, s… yes s as in Sam… dash… yes, the middle dash, not the underline thingy… OK where was I?”

    Anyhow, you can see how 面倒くさい my job could possibly get if Japanese IDN’s get out of hand. Not to say that I’m against them. Just clarifying my previous arguments

  44. Quote
    I would say that is incorrect, if you compare romaji to hiragana/katakana/kanji in terms of amount of searches/month romaji is insignificant, this is fact.
    Quote

    While you are correct in assuming Japanese people like to input their thoughts in kanji, and search google in kanji, when it comes to URL direct inputting, the majority of Japanese prefer using romaji. Romaji is considered a fourth alphabet of Japanese, after hiragana, katakana and kanji. Japanese people do not feel culturally impaired by having to input in a “foreign” alphabet as seems to be inferred in the general line of these comments. I suggest to the Americans trying to “help out” the Japanese by promoting double-byte domain names so Japanese can input in there wonderful kanji, as a feeble attempt at dressing up an investment scam as.something legitimate.

    Double-byte domain names will only work if you have the romaji equivalent also backed up and then I certainly would not pay a premium.

    Just ask yourself this simple question: Why haven’t double-bye domain names taken off in Japan despite all current Japanese domain name owners knowing that they exist and knowing they can register them?

    I would love to see the number of new domain names registered by Japanese this year and see what the ratio of single byte to double byte domain names are. Anyone know where to find this?

  45. Hmmm, what you say is that japanese like to input their thoughts in Kanji BUT they accept Romaji and SO there’s no need for a change. The only reason why your fourth alphabet is adopted as THE alphabet for URL’s is because the japanese have HAD NO CHOICE. You turn it around and effectively say because the japanese had no choice they have become accustomed to it and so there’s no need to give them that choice.
    Don’t you think that’s very skewed ?

    You claim japanese people PREFER to input Romaji, but that can only be valid if ‘the’ (we are generalizing like mad here but ok..) japanese know they have a choice, preference requires awareness of choice. Does the majority of the japanese know this ? I strongly doubt it and besides how many popular websites have started advertising with IDN’s yet ? Although IDN’s are hardly promoted they are being registered like mad.

    They deserve to have that choice and you know it. I don’t care for my own language, Dutch, we have very little words with extended-characters, but for a japanese to rule out 3 ‘alphabets’ just because you’re used to it….nehh that doesn’t cut it. Maybe as an argument for you personally but not as an argument for 125 million people.

    About the ‘scam’-remark;
    You have been misinformed, IDN’s started as an alternative Unicode standard 11 years ago, continued by scientists and picked up by non-governmental organisations, after many rounds of discussions and testbeds, ICANN, a non-profit organisation formalized it’s implementation in domain names and national registries like .jp, .de, .hk etc. adopted these guidelines and standards. That’s the adoption of a new technology, not the setup for a huge scam. That american/british/dutch/japanese/etc. domain investors have grabbed this opportunity before the average japanese webmaster is not a reason to slander them.

    Oh and ‘double-byte’-domains ? UTF-8 uses 1 to 4 bytes and besides, they should be called japanese domains 😉 .

    About your question.

    Since April 2001;
    ASCII(Alpha-Numeric) 438102
    Japanese(Japanese Domain Names) 134243
    http://jprs.co.jp/en/stat/

    I don’t know where you can get the info per year but you can assume that the IDN-registrations have risen over the past years.

  46. ——-
    Just ask yourself this simple question: Why haven’t double-bye domain names taken off in Japan despite all current Japanese domain name owners knowing that they exist and knowing they can register them?
    ——-

    Who says they aren’t taking off ?

  47. ———————
    Double-byte domain names will only work if you have the romaji equivalent also backed up and then I certainly would not pay a premium.
    ———————

    I would have to agree, if the romaji name is unavailable a premium for the IDN is not reasonable.

  48. Bruce, so you don’t have a dropdown menu for romaji, giving options for kanji/hiragana/katakana ?

    I understand that words which are written only in hiragana/katakana can be inputted quite easily ?

  49. Ao, Charles:
    I see your points on ASCII being the lowest common denominator which ensures that the broadest possible audience can access international websites.
    Charles, your example indicates why the romaji domains can’t be dismissed for japanese users as does the Bonzai example from you Ao.

    Wouldn’t you agree though that besides japanese working on foreign keyboards and foreigners being directed to japanese sites most japanese do have access to japanese input methods ?

  50. bramiozo said: Bruce, so you don’t have a dropdown menu for romaji, giving options for kanji/hiragana/katakana ?

    Sure MS-IME (or in Mac case ATOK or Kotoeri) provides a dropdown menu of possible suggested conversions. But it requires a human to select the correct conversion. So converting from romaji to proper written Japanese takes 2 steps the 2nd of which requires intelligent human input so it can’t easily be automated.

    Romaji not for me said: Romaji is considered a fourth alphabet of Japanese

    I agree. Romaji is not English. Ain’t nothing wrong with Japanese people inputting URLs in good ole romaji !

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