Arabic businesses and Internet users are set for a paradigm shift in their online behaviour in 2013 with the launch of .shabaka (translates to .web in English), an Arabic script Top-Level Domain, which is expected mid-year.
While the suffix is translated to .shabaka for the purposes of writing it in English, the domain namespace will only operate in Arabic script on the Internet and end users will only be able to use it by typing in Arabic.
Moving away from non-Arabic Internet namespaces such as .com, .net and .org, the introduction of shabaka will provide the Arabic speaking world with a uniquely Arabic-orientated corner of the Internet.
The launch of .shabaka is part of the new Top-Level Domain program which is being rolled out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global regulator of web addresses.
ICANN gave the official tick of approval today, March 24, for .shabaka as it became one of the first new Top-Level Domains, beating around 1900 other applicants globally, to pass ICANN’s rigorous evaluation process.
Yasmin Omer, general manager of International Domain Registry – the Internet technology company behind .shabaka – said she believes the new domain will become the centre of all things Arabic on the Internet.
“I expect .shabaka to be one of the biggest innovations in the Arab digital and online landscape in 2013. It is set to totally redefine the way businesses and users approach the Internet in the global Arabic speaking community,” Ms Omer said.
.shabaka will be the first cross-border Arabic domain extension open to all Arabic speakers across the world, reflective of Arabic culture and society. It will offer businesses and website registrants a targeted online channel to reach the entire Arabic speaking community in their native language.