Since my blog post last week, discussion continues on what has actually happened with the new Chinese TLDs and what the consequences will be. Rebecca MacKinnon’s posting on CircleID triggered an interesting discussion. It has also been mentioned on a few blogs including My Heart’s in Accra, Joho the Blog, China Digital Times, Shanghaiist, Virtual China, the LINX public affairs news and even in a Czech blog which I can’t understand. The ICANN Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) mailing list has a thread discussing the move, as does the DomainState forum.
The Chinese development is also noteworthy because it works. Researchers at Cambridge University report that Chinese ISPs recognize the new domains.
I presume this is based on my blog posting, since I am not aware of anyone else in Cambridge having looked into this.
Also in the news is a statement from CNNIC, and reported in People’s Daily Online. CNNIC say that reports of new TLDs are inaccurate, but does not explain what the actual situation is. CNNIC’s DNS servers resolve the new TLDs and claim to be authoritative, but perhaps CNNIC means that they are still only experimental, or simply that the press release did not announce any change. CNNIC are accepting registrations under the new TLDs, which does suggest they consider them official.
As for the discussion about whether what China has done is technically “splitting the root”, in the GNSO thread, Karl Auerbach gives a very succinct description:
It’s a somewhat pointless game of semantics about whether this circumstance is a “split” root or not. However, it has most of the characteristics that ICP3 [link mine] wails about – most particularly names not being globally visible.
I’d say that this situation quacks like a duck and walks like a duck: it’s a non-ICANN approved addition to the top level names of the DNS which is visible to some internet users and not to others.
(And this appearance of a new TLD is true without benefit of plugins or internet exploders.)
It may be an experiment, but if so it’s a rather large one.