The domain name space in South Eastern Europe – the case of IDNs

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Alias: IDN SEEssion

Session description

“What is the difference between a registry, a registrar and a registrant?” This is a question that would put many Internet stakeholders in difficulty. We use the Internet, we type urls, we sometimes register domain names, but often we do not know too much about how the domain name system (DNS) really works. We sometimes don’t even quite understand what the DNS acronym stands for. The first part of this session is therefore aimed at explaining, in simple terms, the key concepts behind the DNS, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the various actors involved in the management and administration of domain names. Some of the issues that will be touched upon include: a brief history of the DNS; explanations of what domain names, gTLDs and ccTLDs are and how they function; the roles and responsibilities of ICANN, regional Internet registries, domain name registries, registrars and registrants.

The second part of the session will be focused on a domain name-related issue particularly relevant for many countries in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area – the Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs). Through the introduction of IDNs, ICANN has created the possibility of having top level domains (both ccTLDs and gTLDs) in different scripts (e.g.Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic), compared to the previous limitation of having such top level domains only in the Latin alphabet. IDNs thus contribute to making the Internet more inclusive, as the possibility of accessing and registering domain names in more languages and scripts empower more people to use the Internet. This opportunity is extremely relevant for users in South Eastern Europe and the neighbouring area, given the diversity of scripts (for example Latin, Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian), as well as the fact that some languages, although based on the Latin alphabet, also include characters with diacritical marks (such as in Turkish, Romanian, Croatian, Slovenian, etc.). In some countries, IDN ccTLDs have been implemented (Belarus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine, etc.) or are in the process of being implemented (Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, etc.), while other countries have announced their intention to implement IDNs in the future (such as Montenegro). In addition, there are also several IDN gTLDs registered from within the region (.сайт “.website”, .онлайн “.online”, .москва “.moskva”, etc.). But there is a need to raise more awareness and promote a better understanding of IDN-related issues in the region.

In this context, the aim of this second part of the session is to explain the concept of IDNs, as well as the motivations behind its introduction, and to allow for an exchange of experience and best practices from IDNs already implemented and in the course of being implemented. Ample space will be allocated for discussions among all participations on such issues and on others that are related to the implementation, use and acceptance of IDNs (opportunities, challenges, ways forward, etc.).


domain names, gTLD, ccTLD, IDN, best practices


Short introductions by key participants, followed by discussions among all participants.


  • Keynote speakers:
    • Introduction to domain names: Yuriy Kargopolov, Ukrainian Network Information Center
    • Introduction to IDNs: Vojislav Rodić, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia
  • Key participants:
    • Iliya Bazlyankov, Unicart, Bulgaria
    • Lianna Galstyan, Internet Society Armenia
  • Moderator: Dušan Stojičević, Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS), Serbia
  • Remote moderator: Hovhannes Aghajanyan, Internet Society Armenia
  • Rapporteur: Aleksandar Ichokjaev, Popovski Law Office, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Further reading


  1. Domain names are more than addressing and naming, they are content.
  2. IDNs preserve national identity, while uniting cultural and linguistic diversity.
  3. IDNs are about enabling the exercise of basic human rights.
  4. We need to cooperate on finding solutions for the technical challenges (such as functional IDNs emails and recognition of IDNs by search engines) related to full universal acceptance of IDNs.

Video recording

The video recording of the session is available.