What is xn-- ?
Simple answer: PUNYCODE! The opening qualifier of a non-english (non ascii) domain name.
All IDNs will have a punycode representation beneath the surface.
A sample of this would be xn--gtv858b.net, the xn-- is reserved for IDN domain names.
xn--gtv858b.net converts to 糖果.net which in simplified chinese represents candy.net.
Punycode was invented some time ago, and you can search then internet regarding it's beginnings. The beauty of the invention and use of punycode is; that it enables users to register domain names in a multiplicity of scripts. To see the punycode conversion tool from verisign, go to http://mct.verisign-grs.com/index.shtml
Before the DOT:
IDN domain names are available for registration and use in many extensions, but IDNs can only be accepted before the dot. During the next several months, ICANN will launch IDNcctlds, for example .РФ will be used for Russian speakers signifying Russian Federation.
I'm going to keep this first post short, as I will be working on the layout etc.
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