An IDN is a domain name which uses a particular encoding and format to allow a wider range of scripts to represent domain names such as Gujarati, Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari and many more scripts. In simple words, a domain name with non-English characters will be called an Internationalized Domain Name.
Humans have a variety of languages and alphabets that are familiar to them, and domain names do too. IDN unlocks an increased familiarity and affinity for humans. Well, it is easy to say now that IDNs are an investment in your company’s future. Also, such audience uses keyboards that enables only their native language, thus when they look for a domain name, it makes complete sense for companies to make these domains available for them.
Another angle to understand why it is important for a company to have IDNs.
Have you seen a 2-sided business card? One side is always in English and one side in a local language. Why do people do it? Names and Brands for that matter have a strong sentimental component for attachment to what language you speak and you would certainly like to hold on to a domain name of your company in that language to protect your Brand.
Companies need to upgrade their network not just for serving the local audience but a global world of local audiences too. Once you become Universal Ready, then your system will support all local languages around the world, for example, if your system can support Hindi Email Addresses, technically it supports Russian and Chinese Email Addresses too.
There are various examples if we look at different countries adopting IDNs. In Russia, the IDN’s have been adopted for visual marketing. They’ve done some measurement that suggests it takes just 2 seconds for someone to recognize and remember a Cyrillic domain name, but considerably longer to remember an ASCII address. Many companies in Russia started out using their IDNs for this purpose and then redirecting users to their ASCII website. Since then some have started native Cyrillic websites.
In India, Government of Rajasthan adopted IDNs and provided every citizen a free Email Address in their native language to remove the language barrier and connect every citizen to the Internet.
Coming back to Why Companies should adopt IDN, there are more reasons to it. Delaying implementing EAI increases the cost of its eventual implementation as it could mean rewriting or re-architecting code that is in development now. It also increases technical debt that will need to be resolved at some point.
CEOs are sensitive to financial and market opportunities. However, although native language support is an important factor in capturing a market, there are also many other factors that have to be resolved simultaneously. (For example, having native language speakers in customer support and call centers, native language marketing, social media, etc.) Therefore many of the arguments about market size and opportunity are not as compelling as most people think until they are made specific to the industry and demographics of the company’s particular product space.
Local or global competitors can leverage their support for EAI and native languages to take away market share. That is a cogent threat.
User Experience, Customer Satisfaction and Retention
Users may have pride or feel their status is elevated by having a native language and personalized email address or IDN. Employees may also take pride in an IDN for their company.
EAI offers ease of use including entry (typing, handwriting recognition, voice), visual and voice recognition, memory recall, and easier site navigation.
Also, EAI/IDN makes it easier for users to communicate or transfer linguistic domain names to each other, since they can speak them or write them out on paper, etc.
Reach and Brand
IDN may improve SEO as the local content is lesser for your region in comparison to English. This gives early mover advantage to set up better-searched pages and rankings for your site. This reinforces and protects the localized company and product names.
As people tend to understand and visualize local language much better, IDN will make it easier for users to recognize phishing or other malicious variants of the company domain name. It even gives you the advantage of protecting brand names and prevent others from infringing on your rights in a domain name or using it to hurt your brand or trademark or hurt your SEO.
Special thanks to UASG.TECH and experts from industry who have all contributed their views namely Andrew Sullivan, Andre Schappo, Ashish Modi, Don Hollander, Edmon, Jothan Frakes, Mark Svancarek, Nitin Walia, Pinkard Alan, Roberto Gaetano, and Tex.
Written by Ajay Data, Founder and CEO at XgenPlus