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German ‘ß’ to be allowed in internet domain names

The Local · 11 Nov 2010, 14:27

Published: 11 Nov 2010 14:27 GMT+01:00

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The character, known as the Eszett or sharp S, is fairly common in German, showing up in words such as Gruß (greeting), Fußball (football) and groß (big). But until recently, the central registry for German .de domains, DENIC, has forbidden it being used as an independent character.

People wanting domain names containing words with an “ß” had to make do with “ss” instead.

But starting next week, that will change.

“Internet users will have the possibility to get the name they want for their own websites and e-mail addresses,” said August-Wilhelm Scheer, the president of BITKOM, Germany’s leading IT industry lobbying group. in a statement. “The internet is now better attuned to German-speaking regions.”

But he also pointed out that the change could lead to problems, especially when it comes to international communication. Keyboards outside of German-speaking countries generally do not have a “ß” key.

Those who have registered .de domain names with “ss” have been able to register the new “sharp s” version since October 26. New ß registrations, however, will only be accepted from 10:00 am on November 16.

The “ß” is a ligature that dates back to the 13th century. It gradually developed to replace the common letter combination of s and z. Today, it is pronounced as an unvoiced s, such as the last sound in the English word “grass.”

Story continues below…

The Local/DAPD/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:58 November 11, 2010 by catjones
Germany's contribution to internet technology. Back-Aß as usual.
15:00 November 11, 2010 by moistvelvet
What is the point? All they will do is limit the number of visitors who can access their site, keep it in the language by all means but the internet is international. Ok other languages are used on the internet in their true form, cyrillic, chinese, arabic etc but the Eszett has a perfectly acceptable alternative "ss", why roll things back to last century, what next a return to CRT monitors and black and white TV?
15:11 November 11, 2010 by William Thirteen
good news! we can already use umlauts and now another of our favorite odd characters - now if we could only use Fraktur again in our address bar! Today your browser, tomorrow the world!
15:44 November 11, 2010 by SockRayBlue
I'm still waiting for the accent over a character in my name to show up.
15:56 November 11, 2010 by freechoice
do you know the german character codes are in the same position to clash with another country character codes?
16:02 November 11, 2010 by darwiniandemon
Wonder who's going to register ßex.de first.
01:36 November 12, 2010 by Alofat
Wow the stupidity in these comments here is beyond belief. When was the last time anyone of you morons actually typed out a domain name? And that German domains are actually for German speakers first and foremost, who btw have no problem typing ß, ö,ä and ü, hasn't entered your tiny minds, has it? , I won't even mention that German companies who operate international probably won't use them, but just go ahead with your vile and idiotic statements.
07:01 November 12, 2010 by proclusian
I'm a bit surprised at all the hostility here to domain names with the ß in them. What idiot who has lived in Germany for more than a few months doesn't know that on a standard English keyboard (at least for Mac) you type alt-S to get the Eszett?

As for restricting traffic to the domain, obviously any business-savvy individual who is going to register (for example) Straße.de can also get Strasse.de as well, so that it redirects. In the same way that one might do müller-thurgau.de, as well as mueller-thurgau.de. As Alofat points out, these domain names are mainly for Germans and for people who bother to actually learn the German language.
14:24 November 12, 2010 by Beachrider
It shouldn't be a problem for german-speakers, but people without exposure to german language will have trouble with it. As others have said, language-specific characters in Russian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Arabic, etc. have all PROVEN to be difficult for people unfamiliar with those languages.

You can have ß, but it WILL impede access for the vast majority of internet users. Provide alternatives for those people and you will be following the successful approach of others with this same challenge.
14:31 November 12, 2010 by karine Al Nachef
I am Lebanese learining German, I only have ss so... ?
10:06 November 14, 2010 by ushany.jasmin.balder
this is lame.. what if u have an american laptop? besides, whats so hard about typing "ss".. this new thing is only going to limit or slow down ppl visiting the site!
10:42 November 15, 2010 by siastar75
Even with an American laptop you can type the ß. I have an American Dell. Windows offers a language bar which you can outfit with whatever languages and keyboard setups you like. I have German, English, and Greek on mine right now. With a click of the mouse I can switch back and forth. The only thing I have to remember is that when I switch over to German, the Z & Y keys are reversed. If I'm in German mode and press Y I get a Z. It also has the umlauted letters öäü.
19:17 November 16, 2010 by oracle2world
This was an enormous amount of work to create yet another incompatability (yaic) in computerland.

God did not create the "Tower of Babel", it arose naturally.

And you don't really need domain names, the internet uses four groups of three numbers for internet addresses

The names are just there for convenience.
22:30 November 16, 2010 by coot
When I learned German, I was told that it is correct to type ss for ß, ae for ä, etc.

So, if I enter the url gruss.de, will it find gruß.de? Or do I misunderstand because of my limited knowledge of the German language?
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