Domain names are now open to Hangul

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Domain names are now open to Hangul

For many Koreans, Latin alphabet domain names have always been somewhat challenging.

Some people have even had to search “Cheongwadae” in Hangul just to find the Web address for the Blue House.

But a new system allows Koreans to use Hangul to access Web sites. Instead of typing using the Latin characters, users can simply type Cheongwadae.hankuk in Korean characters.

Since May 25, the Korea Internet Security Agency has been accepting the registration of Korean-character domain names. Until Aug. 16, the state-run agency will collect domain names in Korean from government agencies. And from Aug. 22, it will open registration for the general public.

Officials at the agency said the new system will allow more children and the elderly - those less familiar with English names - to use the Internet more conveniently.

Nevertheless, the idea of using Korean character domain names isn’t entirely new.

Although it was not composed purely of Korean letters, users could access the Korea Communications Commission’s Web site by inserting ‘.kr’ after typing the name of the organization in Hangul.

The mixed-language domain, however, wasn’t popular, and some government agencies such as the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t bother registering. There are only 170,000 registered Korean-English mixed domain names using the .kr suffix, according to the KCC.

Under the new system, registration commission fees range from 5,390 won ($ 5.01) to 22,000 won.

“Using Hangul domains will save Koreans money, as users who wanted to register English domain names had to pay about 10,000 won to overseas name registrars accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers,” said Kang Hee-seung, CEO of the, a Hangul domain name registrar accredited with the Korean government.

By Hur Jin, Kim Mi-ju []
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