The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a new Internet domain representing Armenia—.հայ (transliterated as “hye” in Latin script). The new .hye domain has been delegated to the Internet Society of Armenia, which requested the unique country code in 2014.
ICANN is a nonprofit organization responsible for monitoring Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation and other databases of unique identifiers related to Internet namespaces. In November 2009, ICANN launched the “IDN ccTLD Fast Track String Evaluation Completion” for eligible countries and territories to request respective Internet domains using scripts other than Latin.
IDN stands for internationalized domain name. A ccTLD (country code top level domain) is a two-letter domain that corresponds to a specific country, territory, or geographic region. “AM” is Armenia’s current country code used online.
Armenia’s new domain name was requested by the Internet Society of Armenia (ISOC AM). ISOC AM is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization representing major Internet service providers, universities, libraries, academies, research, and school networks in Armenia. ISOC AM helps manage and improve Armenian Internet networks, develop Internet domain naming policies, and facilitates the development and distribution of Internet standards and technologies in Armenia.
In 2007, ISOC AM became the manager of .am which represents Armenia in Latin script. In August 2013, ISOC AM announced its decision to begin the application process to request a new unique country code for Armenia.
After a call for comments and suggestions, members of the ISOC AM favored .hye, and in April 2014 formally applied for the country code through the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process.
In November 2014, a Fast Track panel found that the code “presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS identified in [the IDN Fast Track implementation plan] … and presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion”. The request for the new code was subsequently approved.
With .hye, Internet users in Armenia will be able to request domain names in Armenian script.
ICANN requires that country domains be at least two characters long, be a “meaningful representation of the name of the corresponding country or territory,” and that the language used be an official language in the corresponding country or territory with either legal status or serving as a language of administration.
Support for .hye came from a variety of governmental and non-governmental representatives, including Head of Staff of the Ministry of Transport and Communication Gagik Grigoryan, and Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences Yuris Shoukourian.
A report published by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) which works with the US government and ICANN stated that, “as the current operator of .AM ccTLD, the application has provided satisfactory details on the technical and operational infrastructure and expertise that will be used to operate the .հայ domain.”
Future scripts currently under development include Greek, Japanese, Arabic, Thai, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Korean.