Note: Registrations of domain names within two-letter country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .au, .ca, .jp., and .uk are administered by country-code managers. If you want information about registration requirements in a particular ccTLD, please see the IANA ccTLD database to identify the manager.
ICANN is the global forum for developing policies for coordination of some of the Internet's core technical elements, including the domain-name system (DNS). ICANN operates on the basis of consensus, with affected stakeholders coming together to formulate coordination policies for the Internet's core technical elements in the public interest. The policies are then implemented by the agreement of the operators of the core elements, including gTLD registry operators and sponsors, ccTLD managers, regional Internet (IP address) registries, and root-nameserver operators.
Traditionally, the agreement to implement coordinated policies for the Internet has been informal. As the Internet has spread throughout the world and grown in commercial importance, however, operators and users of the Internet have concluded that a more formal set of written agreements should be established. One of ICANN's activities is to work with the other organizations involved in the Internet's technical coordination to formally document their participatory role within the ICANN process and their commitments to implement the policies that result. These have included agreements with Network Solutions (now VeriSign), which operates the .com and .net top-level domains; the companies responsible for operating the new, "unsponsored" TLDs (.biz, .info, and .name); the organizations sponsoring the "sponsored" TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum); Public Interest Registry, which operates the .org top-level domains; and over 150 ICANN-accredited registrars; the regional Internet registries; and the Internet Engineering Task Force.
Since 2000, ICANN has also been working with managers of ccTLDs (the two-letter TLDs that have been established for countries and some territories) to document their relationship with ICANN. These relationships are more complex, because of the varying circumstances (in terms of type of organization, policies followed, economics, language, culture, legal environment, and relations with governments) of different ccTLDs and the organizations that operate them. An additional factor to be addressed is the role, recognized in the June 1998 U.S. Government White Paper, that national governments have in "manag[ing] or establish[ing] policy for their own ccTLDs."