To Prospective Applicants for New gTLDs, ICANN works toward a common good – a stable and secure global Internet. By maintaining the security and stability of the domain name system, it keeps the Internet running and unified. This Draft Applicant Guidebook provides detailed information about the rules, requirements and processes of applying for a new generic top‐level domain (gTLD). It reflects considerable improvements over the previous version, much of the change due to public participation. This feedback is an essential element of the ICANN model and of the new gTLD planning process. Since its creation more than ten years ago as a not‐for‐profit, multi‐stakeholder organization, ICANN has promoted competition and choice in the domain name marketplace. This includes a lengthy and detailed public consultation process on how best to introduce new gTLDs. Representatives from a wide variety of stakeholders — governments, individuals, civil society, the business and intellectual property constituencies, and the technology community — were engaged in discussions and bottom‐up policy development for more than three years. In October 2007, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), one of the groups that coordinate global Internet policy at ICANN, completed its policy development work and approved a set of recommendations. The Board of Directors adopted the policy at ICANN’s June 2008 Paris meeting. You can see a thorough brief of the policy process and outcomes at http://gnso.icann.org/issues/new‐gtlds/. Working groups that contributed to the development of the Guidebook comprised a large cross‐section of ICANN community members and experts in various fields. For example: • • • • • •
the Implementation Recommendations Team (IRT) proposed solutions on trademark protections; the Special Trademark Issues (STI) group made recommendations for a Uniform Rapid Suspension System and a Trademark Clearinghouse; the Vertical Integration (VI) group is working to devise a consensus‐based model for addressing registry/registrar separation issues; the Zone File Access (ZFA) group recommended a standard zone file access model to combat potential DNS abuse; the High Security Top‐Level Domain (HSTLD) group has been working on developing a voluntary designation for ‘high security TLDs’: enhanced security practices and policies; and the Temporary Drafting Group (TDG) is working with ICANN to draft selected proposed elements of the registry agreement.
This has been a truly collaborative effort. Special thanks go to the ICANN community and to other volunteers who contributed countless hours of invaluable work to help solve some of the program’s most challenging issues. This version of the Draft Applicant Guidebook brings us close to completing the process, and I look forward to receiving your comments. Sincerely
Rod Beckstrom CEO and President
Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 4 Please note that this is a discussion draft only. Potential applicants should not rely on any of the proposed details of the new gTLD program as the program remains subject to further consultation and revision.
31 May 2010
Preamble New gTLD Program Background New gTLDs have been in the forefront of ICANN’s agenda since its creation. The new gTLD program will open up the top level of the Internet’s namespace to foster diversity, encourage competition, and enhance the utility of the DNS. Currently the gTLD namespace consists of 21 gTLDs and 255 ccTLDs operating on various models. Each of the gTLDs has a designated “registry operator” according to a Registry Agreement between the operator (or sponsor) and ICANN. The registry operator is responsible for the technical operation of the TLD, including all of the names register