Readers react to introduction of special characters in German URLs | All of Deutsche Welle′s social media channels at a glance | DW | 03.11.2010
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Readers react to introduction of special characters in German URLs

Readers took a moment to weigh the introduction of the letter "ß," also known as an "eszett" and pronounced as an "ss," in domain names.

The upper right portion of a German 1964 Olympia typewriter showing the placement of ß and umlauts

After November 16, ß domains will be open for registration

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Would you register a .de domain name with an "ß" in it?

The following reader responses are from the Deutsche Welle Facebook fan page.

It would be quite annoying for people who don't have a German keyboard. -- Alessandro

It would be just as annoying as an umlaut. But if they don't speak German, why would they visit a German website? -- Wolfgang

Wolfgang, I know several German websites, that have support for several languages or at least English. -- Gerhard

Well, I don't know if I would register a .de website address with "ß." It would be pretty annoying for people who don't understand or cannot type German. Besides, I think people who don't understand German may still go to German websites because some of them provide information in other languages. By the way, I like "ß," because it looks very German and also is very cute. -- Pin-Shuan

Yes! More original! And it is a good way to resist the overly complicated “Reform der deutschen Rechtschreibung von 1996.” -- Luis

Yay! Do it! Save German language and culture! To those of you who complain about the keyboard, do some research, you can use "hot keys" to make foreign characters. -- Kadesh

Exactly Kadesh. There are some really simple number pad commands that will insert German characters (and many other symbols as well). -- Chris

Alas, that character doesn't exist on my keyboard! How will I type it into the browser? -- Judith

Where does one find these number pad commands? -- Lyle

It would be nice to allow 'ss' or 'sz' to do the same job on non-German keyboards. -- Claudio Sorry, I should have added this earlier... ßßß -- Kadesh

When you use the codes or special keys for the special letters does the computer recognize font differences? -- Michelle

I tried also Alt+0223 according to my character map but it simply doesn't work, at least in Facebook. -- Claudio

Using the ß in your URL would be a really good way to ensure that no one outside of Germany ever visited it, except perhaps via links from somewhere else. Not a good idea. -- Tanya

I don't think I would. For me, the coolest thing about the web is the ability to bring people together. Using a character which is only found on keyboards in two countries (Germany and Austria -- the German-speaking Swiss stopped using the ß years ago) would be more divisive than inclusive. But don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of a “Super Language” that should take over the world. German should stay German! But on the international level, there should be a level playing field for the Internet. I'm just saying. -- Patrick

I don't like it. I won't be able to type some German and Austrian web addresses! -- Alberto

Sure why not? Just press Alt 225 and there you go -- ß. But I must admit, not everyone's going to like it with all these special keyboard codes, especially the non-Germanic countries. -- Kristin

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Michael Lawton