DENIC, the German registry for .de domains, has received more than 600,000 applications for .de domain names containing umlauts - vastly in excess of the anticipated demand. This is the first time DENIC and its members have had to cope with such a huge influx of applications. The registry normally only processes a few thousand a day.
On Monday it became possible to register internationalised domain names (IDNs). A total of 92 additional letters, such as those with umlauts (e.g. ü, etc), can now be used in .de domains and are reportedly available for more than 350 languages world-wide.
Although DENIC and its employees spent weeks preparing intensively for the start of registration, the registry faced a number of technical hitches right from the off. On Monday alone, it received 300,000 applications.
The first .de domain with an umlaut registered was öko.de. Other much-coveted domains were snapped up quickly too, including müller.de, schröder.de, krüger.de and jäger.de. The registration process adhered strictly to the principle of "first come, first served". The German state of Thüringen was too late to secure its own name - a businessman from Nuremberg (sorry, Nürnberg) got there first.
What most applicants don’t realise is that web browsers generally can't cope with umlaut domains, at least not without a special plug in. Sending emails with umlauts in the email address can cause trouble too. ®
We gather that Netscape 7.1 can cope with accented domains - there's more on that and how browsers can handle (or not, as the case may be), non-ASCII characters in domain names right here.