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Opening of IDNs to all and the first review of Afnic statistics

July 6, 2012

As IDNs opened for registration to all on 3 July, Afnic takes stock of its progress over the last 2 months.

What you need to know about IDNs and AFNIC

- Since 3 May 2012, AFNIC has established a "Sunrise" period. Only the holders of domain names with one of the .fr, .re, .yt, .pm, .wf or .tf extensions in their ASCII version were allowed to submit variations of their domain names using the 30 new characters available for registration: é, è, ê, β, etc. The goals of the Sunrise period launched by AFNIC enabled these holders to :

  • establish their naming strategy
  • secure their domain names properly and thus prevent any risks of cybersquatting.


- On 3 July at 2 p.m., registration of the new characters was opened to one and all according to the "first come, first served" rule.

- The secure process for opening IDNs, divided into two phases, is the result of various consultations with stakeholders in the French digital ecosystem since February 2011. This was used to rapidly define the outlines of the IDN policy, the purpose of which is to obtain:

  • better compliance with the French language and culture,
  • a fair balance between cybersquatting and the freedom of registration

Review of the "sunrise" period - 3/05/2012 to 3/07/2012

-  11,541 domain names with diacritical marks were registered

-  The 5 most popular new characters were as follows:

  • "é", used 9,334 times
  • "è", used 1,510 times
  •  "ñ", used 640 times
  • "ô", used 572 times
  • "ê", used 560 times


-  The top 10 registrars with the highest number of IDNs registered were as follows:

  • Ovh:  2,376
  • Indom: 1,341
  • Renater: 1,323
  • Gandi:  986
  • Pixel: 568
  • Obs-marques: 509
  • Mailclub: 476
  • Dataxy: 272
  • Proxad:  201
  • Namebay: 191

First statistics since the opening on 3 July at 6 p.m.

 - 6,033 domain names with diacritical marks have been registered

-  The 5 most popular new characters were as follows:

  • "é", used 5,552 times
  • "è", used 685 times
  • "ô", used 233 times
  • "ê", used 223 times
  • "à", used 183 times



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Afnic (the French acronym for "Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération" i.e. the French Network Information Centre), is a non-profit association created in 1997. Appointed by the French State to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain (TLD) it promotes use of .fr by entrepreneurs and individuals. As the historic manager with more than 3 million domain names in .fr to date, it is also positioned as a provider of technical solutions and registry services: it currently manages 14 projects for new gTLDs, including .paris and .bzh. Afnic is located in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where its staff of 80 works for the common good of the French Internet.