German Alphabet In The Internet Now Complete With Eszett

Effective 16 November, the letter eszett will officially be included in the set of characters permitted for .de domains

(PresseBox) ( Frankfurt, )
Umlauts have been allowed to be used in .de domains already since 2004. Only one letter of the German alphabet was still missing - the Latin small letter sharp s, also known as "eszett". After the revised standard for Internationalized Domain Names in Applications (IDNAbis) had taken effect on 4 August 2010, thus paving the way for eszett, the central German registry DENIC eG started to prepare the launch of the last letter of the German alphabet. On 26 October 2010, 17:00 CET, the Registry gave the starting signal: For the first time ever, .de domains with names containing the letter eszett could be registered during a sunrise period. "When the new standard was approved, it was clear to us that we did not want to withhold the option to register .de domains with names containing the letter "ß" from the Internet community. Now the entire german alphabet can be used in .de domain names. Thus we are bridging a previously existing gap", Sabine Dolderer, member of DENIC's Executive Board, explained DENIC's action.

In the three-week sunrise period preceding the official launch, during which only holders of domains with names containing the letter combination "ss" were entitled to register the corresponding ß-domains, DENIC already recorded 5,172 successfully registered ß-domains. Corresponding with the end of the sunrise period on 16 November 2010, 10:00 CET, their privileges become void and DENIC's usual "firstcome- first-served"-principle will apply. Now all those can go ahead who do not hold a domain with a name containing the letter combination "ss".

Transition to regular operations went smooth. And if we take into consideration the low frequency of the letter "ß" in German texts - it only occupies the rank 23 - the number of 187,339 requests submitted during the first two hours after the start of regular registration clearly reflects a strong interest of the community in the small German letter for names of .de domains.

Some time may pass until all users will be able to reach ß-domains on the Internet. Because only when all vendors have updated their application software like Internet Browsers to the new IDN standard, users who call an ß-domain will no longer run the risk to be directed to the - no longer identical - ssdomain. This situation is due to the fact that before the new IDN standard became effective, according to its previous version, "ß" was converted into "ss". This means, no differentiation was made between "strasse.de" and "straße.de". Only when updated to the new standard, systems will treat the two character strings as two separate domains. "We expect this transition period to extend over two to three years, until the new application programs will be available to the majority of the users and ß-domains can be used without restrictions", explicates Sabine Dolderer. Thus, DENIC recommends parties interested in ß-domains to take this technical uncertainty into consideration with regards to the intended use of their domain.
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