World’s first Arabic TLD .shabaka launched
The world’s first Arabic Top-Level Domain (TLD), ‘.shabaka’ (dotShabaka) is almost here. .shabaka is part of the new Top-Level Domain program being rolled out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to expand the Internet’s web address system.
Surpassing almost 1900 other applicants from around the world, .shabaka (شبكة. in Arabic), translates to ‘.web’ in English.
It will become the world’s first borderless new Top-Level Domain and will provide Arabic speaking Internet users with an alternative to non-Arabic Internet namespaces such as .com, .net and. org. It will be a domain name available to everyone wanting an Arabic online presence.
There is a lot of demand and potential for Arabic domain names and digital content. According to Qatar’s National ICT Plan 2015: Advancing the Digital Agenda, a report published in June 2011 by ictQatar, Arabic is the fifth most-commonly spoken language in the world, yet only 3% of internet content is in Arabic.
62% of internet users in the GCC region prefer browsing the web in Arabic and revenues from sale of digital content in the MENA region are expected to more than double over the next five years.
Arabic is also the fastest growing language online – with a growth of more than 2500 percent in the ten years to 2011.
.shabaka will have a global audience, with over 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, which use Arabic as an official language – a region that comprises over 380 million people. It is expected to be available within the next few months.