If history repeats itself, www.sex.asia should be the most popular domain name requested at the launch of the .asia regional domain name. At least, that’s what happened with the .eu extension when it was launched last year.

Following the European Union (.eu), a regional domain name for Asia (.asia) is, as of this week and after 6 years of deliberation with ICANN, available for government and companies. The public will have to wait till February 2008.

For the time being, domains will be offered using the Latin alphabet and there is no hint about when addresses will be available in local alphabets. This is unfortunate. Some countries, notably China, have already set up a system that makes it possible to use net domains written in Chinese characters – the government was tired of having to wait for ICANN to officially approve non-Roman alphavets in domain names.

Is there a need for .asia? The 20 or so sponsor members running country code domains who signed up to back the .asia registry run by DotAsia seem to think so. And there is room to grow: the geographical reach of the .asia domain extends from Australia to the Middle East, that’s about 49 countries. Looking westwards, the .eu regional domain name has currently close to 2.6 million .eu registered domain names – not bad after one year but still only a third of the 7.5 million .de domain names!

Actually, .asia will really become interesting next year with the introduction of an auction system for domain names having received more than one qualified application!