Why (Almost) Every App Requires an Upgrade for the New Internet
The biggest consequence of the new gTLDs (generic Top-Level Domains) program is that every app, website, software, or database using email addresses and websites must be updated to work with all of the new domain extensions being added to the Internet name space. This new technical requirement is called Universal Acceptance, where every software needs to support in order to be fully-compatible with the Internet.
For users, when you’re using an email address or website URL with a new gTLD domain name (e.g. socialmedia.church or firstname.lastname@example.org), you may occasionally get an error message like “invalid email” or “invalid domain” when using an app or on a website. This error message means that software is not fully-compatible with the Internet and it’s outdated. There’s 3 things you can do:
- use a backup email address that uses a legacy domain extension (.com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov)
- for web addresses, use the fully-qualified URL http://socialmedia.church
- contact the developer to notify them about Universal Acceptance by sharing the link to this blog post
For developers, if your app or software does any of the following, the code base must be reviewed and probably updated for Universal Acceptance (this sample list is not intended to be comprehensive nor exhaustive):
- validation of email addresses
- validation of website addresses (URLs)
- sending/receiving emails
- usage of emails for account login
- auto-linking of URLs (auto-hyperlinks)
- browse to websites
- integration with URLs for form submissions
- backend communications with APIs
- data/file transfer via URLs
If your app or software has code logic that validates emails and website addresses, it must be upgraded and updated for full Internet compatibility. If you choose to not upgrade an app or software and leave it as, these are just some of the consequences:
- usage will decline because the software is obsolete
- incompatible software will be uninstalled by users
- users won’t be able to use your app or website
- increased cost of customer support (explaining why the app is outdated)
- declining reputation for unmaintained software
- dissatisfaction from poor user experience
For several years now, the Internet has had dozens of domain extensions beyond the commonly used .com, .net, or .org, like .edu, .ly, .jobs, and .travel. Many apps and softwares used a rudimentary logic in its code base to check if an email or domain was valid or not.
However, since 2014, hundreds of new domain extensions have become activated on the Internet, like .club, .xyz, .church, .photography, .email, .公司, .онлайн, .みんな , .google and hundreds of others launched in 2014 with more launching in 2015. The code logic to validate emails and domains must be updated for Universal Acceptance, since the new reality of the Internet namespace is that it has non-English and non-Latin characters as well as a list of domain extensions that are dynamically updated. Yes, the Internet is now truly international and multilingual.
Why hasn’t this important upgrade been made in more apps, websites, and softwares? The Internet is a dynamically developing and evolving ecosystem that operates with a set of collaboratively-determined standards and protocols. But there isn’t one easy way to communicate important news to every software developer in the world. The authoritative entity that oversees the operations of the Internet, ICANN (spelled out) describes what it’s doing:
ICANN will continue to raise awareness of TLD acceptance problems and their solutions via an education campaign directed to Internet Service Providers, website designers, software application developers and other parts of the Internet community affected by these issues. Further information on TLD acceptance topics is available at icann.org/topics/TLD-acceptance/.
To get Universal Acceptance into all apps, websites, and softwares, it’s going to take both time and effort. Share this blog post. Notify software developers in newsletters and discussion forums. And, Google has put together a free testing service at http://domaintest.foo to help developers test their software compatibility.
Can you think of other ways to accelerate the requirement for Universal Acceptance? Please add a comment.