.شبكة

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Status: Active
Language: Arabic
Translates to: web/network
Registry Provider: ARI Registry Services
Type: IDN gTLD
ASCII Translation: .xn--ngbc5azd
Category: Technology
Priority #: 3

شبكة or .shabaka is an IDN gTLD that was proposed in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The Registry Operator is International Domain Registry Pty. Ltd., and the company was the only applicant for the string.[1] It translates to "web" or "network" from Arabic and is the commonly used term for the Internet. The string was delegated to the Root of the DNS on 23 October, 2013. It was one of the first 4 strings to be delegated as part of ICANN's New gTLD Program.[2] It went on general availability in February 2014 and immediately achieved 2,000 registrations, but started to feel the impact of first renewals from April 2015, declining to 1,500 registrations by September 2015.[3][4]

As of 2015, the majority of .shabakaregistrations are held by large international registrars. 101Domains holds 66% and other leading registrars, like Com Laude, CSC, MarkMonitor, and Instra, specialize in brand protection. By contrast, the majority of .mawqe domains -- about 80% -- were held locally by the ICANN-accredited registar, KuwaitNet.[3]

Challenges

Presentations by the DotShabaka registry at Middle East DNS Forums in 2014 and 2015 identified key challenges as low public awareness of Arabic script IDNs, and universal acceptance issues with IDNs. These ideas are also thoroughly detailed in the MEAC DNS Study 2015.[3]

To combat issues of activating Arabic TLDs, .shabaka offers three solutions:[5]

  • Forwarding the Arabic domain to the original Roman text version
  • Forwarding the Arabic domain to the original Roman text version but retaining visibility of the Arabic domain in the browser
  • Forwarding the Arabic site completely, in which case the owner would be required to design the website completely in Arabic, so that clients could benefit from "Arabic domain names, SEO improvement and websites with Arabic content".

Application Details

Excerpts from Responses to Question #18:

"MISSION AND PURPOSE

With 350 million Arabic literate individuals in the world and recent advances in the use of Internationalised Top-Level Domains, there exists a significant opportunity to improve the online navigation experience for Arabic language communities across the world by the introduction of an Arabic Top-Level Domain.

Thus, the mission⁄purpose of the شبكة. TLD is to promote innovation and growth in the Arabic literate Internet community by creating a globally recognized but regionally significant namespace in the Arabic script dedicated to the specific needs of the community thereby serving to eliminate previous barriers to accessibility and building on the successful and cooperative atmosphere established within the Arabic literate Internet community.

The term, شبكة, meaning ‘web’ in Arabic is currently used in the context of describing the ‘Internet’ among Arabic literate Internet users. As such, the use of this generic term as a TLD does not serve to target a specific industry or product segment, effectively expanding the size of the target market and promoting the achievement of the mission⁄purpose of the TLD. Given its generic appeal, the شبكة. TLD will operate with no eligibility restrictions and will attract registrants from both business and consumer segments. The TLD will be accompanied by an aggressive marketing approach that will attempt to position the شبكة. TLD as the TLD of choice for those within the Arabic literate Internet community.

The شبكة. TLD will address the specific needs of, and subsequently effectively appeal to, the Arabic literate Internet community by granting registrants the opportunity to secure relevant, intuitive domain names in their native script. In addition, the شبكة. TLD will allow for direct navigation - a new feature underneath this TLD after years of reliance on Search Engines to direct Arabic literate Internet users to appropriate content." ...

"شبكة. will be an open TLD that appeals to a wide range of potential registrants. No restrictions on eligibility to register and use domain names will be enacted. Multiple applications for a domain name will be resolved by employing the first-come⁄first-serve method of allocation."[6]

Contract Signed

On July 14 2013, the applicant received a Registry Agreeement signed by ICANN for the شبكة. TLD after passing the Initial Evaluation. It was the first new TLD contract to be signed in the New gTLD Program.[7]

Delegation and Availability

.شبكة was delegated to the Root Zone of the DNS on October 23, 2013, completing the successful application for the string.[2]

Sunrise

The Registry announced that their Sunrise Period for the string would begin 31 October 2013 and end on 29 December 2013.[8] They used Pool.com for their Sunrise and Landrush auctions.[9]

The dotShabaka Registry announced after the closing of their Sunrise period that they had received "very few" registrations during the period, due to the fact that the Trademark Clearinghouse had not been promoted adequately in Arabic-speaking countries. The conclusion of the Sunrise Period marked the conclusion of the first Sunrise from the New gTLD Program.[10]

One of the registrations made during the initial Sunrise period was by Google for the domain جوجل.شبكة, which is a transliteration of "Google". This marked the first New gTLD domain registration made by Google.[11]

References

  1. Reveal Day 13 June 2012 – New gTLD Applied-For Strings
  2. 2.0 2.1 Delegated String, ICANN.org Retrieved 05 Dec 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 MEAC DNS Study, ICANN.org. Published 2015 October 13. Retrieved 2015 November 13.
  4. Stats, nTLDStats.com. Retrieved 2015 November 13.
  5. Does your business really need an Arabic Top Level Domain?, Wamda.com. Published 2015 September 29. Retrieved 2015 November 24.
  6. ApplicationDetails, gTLDResult.ICANN.orgRetrieved 14 Jan 2012
  7. First New TLD Contract Signed Retrieved 12 Sept 2013
  8. TLD Startup Information, ICANN.org Retrieved 10 December 2013
  9. dotShabaka Chooses Pool.com for Sunrise and Landrush Auctions, TheDomains Retrieved 12 Dec 2013
  10. First gTLD Sunrise Ends with Very Few Registrations, DomainIncite Retrieved 30 Dec 2013
  11. Google registers its first New gTLD Domain, DomainIncite Retrieved 06 Jan 2014