don-hollanderThere’s been a concerted push to get more traction for Universal Acceptance, the idea that all Top Level Domains should function consistently and successfully, both within the Domain Name Industry and across the Internet ecosystem in general. Included in the program is getting EAI – internationalized e-mail -accepted more broadly.

The Universal Acceptance Steering Group is a cross-community group that’s being supported by ICANN. During March 2015 the group formalized a charter¹ and selected Ram Mohan as Chair and Edmon Chung, Christian Dawson and Rich Merdinger as Co-chairs.

The group created four initial project groups: Topline Issues, Community Outreach, International, and Measurement and Monitoring. Leaders for each of these groups were identified during April and have since then generally been working on their activities for the coming year.

There are a couple of big issues keeping Universal Acceptance from moving forward at a rapid pace:

The first is wide acceptance of email with IDN addresses, either at the top level, further down the domain name tree or in the local portion of the address. The IETF has developed the relevant RFCs, but they remain to be deployed by the major e-mail software providers, either at the server or the client end. Significant progress is expected by the end of this year, and the UASG is working with software developers.

The second big issue stopping Universal Acceptance is domain name validation. The UASG is working to develop a document that will provide systems architects and developers with options on approaches to validation.

The distributed nature of the Internet and its related applications means that the work effort to ensure that all systems are able to accept, store, process and display all TLDs is vast. Among the first activities of the UASG will be to develop tools and documentation that can be used generally to determine if Internet­ accessing systems are UA-ready.

Major players, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, have participants in the group and there’s good active representation from around the globe­ including registrars and registries.

To keep up to date with what’s happening with the UASG or to subscribe to any of the mailing lists, go to the Wiki² page.

1. https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/47255444/ UniversaiAcceptanceSteeringGroupCharter.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1426802764000&api=v2

2. https://community.icann.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageld=47255444

— By Don Hollander, Member, Universal Acceptance Steering Group

(This article was originally published in the State of the Domains, Issue 3: June 2015 premiering at ICANN 53 in Buenos Aires)