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

Home > Observatory and resources > News > Opening of IDNs to all and the first review of Afnic statistics

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

 image opening IDNs figures

About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.