Yesterday was a historic day with the announcement of non-latin Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) for many reasons, but before we get into the pros and cons, let’s get some facts straight if you haven’t been following the topic for the past year or so.
Lets get our acronyms straight, we got our gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains like .com .net .org) and our ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domains .us .uk .ae .sa) and what has been released yesterday was simply the one governments control, which are the ccTLDs, enabling three Arab countries which are Egypt .مصر, UAE .الامارات, and KSA .السعودية to register country specific domains to all interested parties.
Now since this will get everyone with an online market share in either or all of those countries in a frenzy, it will also bring every cybersquatter that ever roamed the cables of the internet running to gather as many juicy domains they can think of.
Now in essence the act of creating non-latin TLDs is to facilitate better access of the internet by the masses of the world who don’t know English. This will bring many benefits in my opinion to the Arab Nation (and other nations as well) for the following reasons:
- Branding is easier with Arabic domains (You can type your domain on an Arabic Business Card without printing English at the bottom). Design firms and marketing agencies will rejoice and celebrate, for the days of misspelled company names, transliterated Arabic brands and ridiculous translations of famous slogans (and by that I mean translating McDonald’s I’m Lovin It) are over. Online campaigns targeting the region will be just that, no need for considering how its going to look in English any more.
- Relevance: It will make it easier for Non-English speaking or (English as a Second Language) users to memorize your website/domain, which is why domain names were invented in the first place. This is probably the most important aspect, your name will be written and pronounced in the language you invented it in, no numbers will be used to express letters, nor miserable letter cocktails to express hyphens.
- Improve SEO (Raise your Ranking in Google/Bing/Yahoo! Search Results) due to the relationship of your domain name (links) and content, which will be the same in this case, which will have a major impact on search engine ranking performance.
- More Domains to chose from: Your not competing with the rest of the world for the same name! Which is a growing pain with every passing day. Most developers out there realize that its one thing to come up with a marketable idea, but to have to chose an available domain name to go with it, is like braiding arm hair, it can be done, but only with great amounts of pain.
- Immediate Political Impact: Lets face it, Arabs live in a politically charged region, we have wars around every corner, and we apparently will continue to in the foreseeable future, so with the recent Social Media impact on current day politics in the region, these reasons will help tap into the collective influence of the average Arab internet user more efficiently. Which will lead to broader access of content, and thus more demand, resulting in an increase of digital content generation.
Now the most immediate negative aspect antagonists come up with is the what I would like to call the ‘Isolation Effect’, meaning some think that with Arabic domains, Arabs won’t need to learn English to navigate the Arabic web, which in their opinion will be bad.
In my opinion, this is a major move that will increase the amount of content generated, raise the number of Arab internet users and most important make it accessible to those who already are online. Rejoice fellow Arabs, and get ready for a new era.