Afnic has published their IDN specifications last Friday. This is the last step before the sunrise period with the ‘grandfathering’ rule that starts the third of May. This move will extend the number of characters which can used to create a domain name to 67, versus  the 37 now. The new IDN rules apply to all the extensions under control of Afnic (.fr, .re, .tf, .wf, .pm and .yt).

The entity filing an IDN must hold an ASCII-equivalent domain name for the transaction to be accepted. However, if the ASCII equivalent has not yet been filed, it will be possible for the holder to create it at any time, even during the sunrise period.

You can only apply for a IDN in the extension you already have. For example, the holder of can apply for café.fr and won’t be  eligible for café.re or any other extension under control of Afnic.

Technical Specifications

The implementation of IDN domain names will follow the IDNA2008 standard. The biggest differences between IDNA2008 and IDNA2003 is the way the German Eszett (ß) will be handled and the face that nameprep step or canonicalization has been removed in IDNA2008.

The opening schedule is as follows (the exact times will be announced later):

•    3 May 2012: Launch of the IDN sunrise period with the “Grandfathering” rule.
•    3 July 2012: Opening with IDN attribution according to the “first come, first served” rule.

Further information about Afnic opening up to IDN can be found here tracks users anonymously using Google Analytics cookies. Please view our Privacy Statement for more information.