Once upon a time domains were simpler. A domain extension (the bit on the right of the dot) was at most 3 letters long. And the only valid character set for a domain name (either side of the dot) was the standard Latin one without any accents of any kind. So if you were writing software that allowed people to signup online with their email address you could do a quick and easy check on their email address’ syntax.
Fast forward a few years and things have changed completely.
Nowadays domain extensions can be pretty much any length (within technical limits) and use pretty much any character set.
Unfortunately, as you may have already discovered there are still quite a few apps, software and services out there that still rely on old and unreliable methods to check if an email address or domain name is valid. So when you try to signup for some services you are forced to resort to using a .com or .ie email address.
That’s a bad user experience.
Next Monday night I’ll be on a discussion panel at WHD.global in Germany to talk about how getting all domains to work everywhere properly is so important. The other panelists on Monday are:
- Blake Irving, CEO, GoDaddy
- Ram Mohan, UASG chair, executive vice president, CTO at Afilias
- Rafael Laguna, CEO at Open-Xchange
- Paul Mockapetris, Inventor of DNS and SMTP
And the panel will be moderated by Christian Dawson (i2Coalition) and Lars Steffen (Eco)
If you’re a developer or programmer and are interested in finding out more about the challenges with “universal acceptance” there are plenty of resources over on the UASG site.