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3al Shabaka

The internet's first Arabic domains have gone online, along with over 1000 new suffixes.

After a few years in the making, Arabic web address suffixes are finally coming to fruition as the first  شبكة. sites have gone online. The DotShabaka Registry - the Dubai-based business running the new suffix, which went live with over 1000 new others, announced that telecoms company Etisalat were the first to use the first Arabic domain.

While many praise the arrival of new suffixes (there were only 22 up until yesterday such as .com, .org and .co.uk) as it expands the online systems, others say it drives up costs for companies and people running websites as they will have to pay to register many more address if they want to protect their brands. For example, CairoScene may think about registering CairoScene. شبكة  or any number of the new domains, which, of course, comes with a price.

Meanwhile, others are celebrating the inclusion of non-Latin scripts in the online world. "It's monumental, in my opinion, because it means the internet finally speaks in Arabic," Yasmin Omer, general manager of the DotShabaka Registry told the BBC. "Now, if I'm an internet user that speaks only Arabic, I don't need to rely on search engines or other pools to get to where I want." Other non-Latin suffixes include Mandarin and Russian.