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Find your place at ICANN

ICANN’s multi-stakeholder model provides many opportunities to get involved. Choose your background on the right to learn which constituent groups within ICANN may interest you. See our organizational structure below to learn how all our groups work together to achieve our goals. Looking for someone specific? Find a member within our Community Directory.

ICANN’s Multi-Stakeholder Model

ICANN follows a multi-stakeholder model in which individuals, non-commercial stakeholder groups, industry, and governments play important roles in its community-based, consensus-driven, policy-making approach.

Learn how our multi-stakeholder model functions

Supporting Organizations

Three Supporting Organizations develop and recommend policies concerning the Internet’s technical management within their areas of expertise. They are the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) and the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO).

Advisory Committees

Four Advisory Committees serve as formal advisory bodies to the ICANN Board. They are made up of representatives from the Internet community to advise on a particular issue or policy area and include: At-Large Advisory Committee (“At-Large”), DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), and Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

Governance Accountability

The ICANN Board of Directors has the ultimate authority to approve or reject policy recommendations, while the Nominating Committee (NomCom) and Ombudsman assure inclusive representation and accountability.

Business & Commerce Communities within ICANN

ICANN provides the global business community several opportunities to represent their interests, be it in general issues regarding the domain name system, or for specific industry concerns. You can help shape policy by joining one or several of these groups:

Generic Names Supporting Organization

The GNSO fashions and edits policies for generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs including .com, .org, .biz) to promote fair and orderly operation, while promoting innovation and competition. People and organizations don’t join the GNSO, they instead join one of the stakeholder groups or constituencies which make up the GNSO:

Commercial Stakeholder Group

The CSG represents the views of commercial Internet users and relevant sectors of the ICT industry, including, large and small business entities, business organizations, Internet connectivity providers, intellectual property owners and intellectual property organizations.

  • Commercial Business Users Constituency

    The Business Constituency (BC) is the voice of commercial Internet users within ICANN, promoting. You can find out more about how to join on the constituency's website, where you can also follow its work. Membership fees apply.

  • Intellectual Property Constituency

    The IPC represents intellectual property interests within ICANN. To join you can be either an international or national intellectual property organization, or a company or individual with a demonstrated interest in the protection of intellectual property. Membership fees apply.

  • Internet Service Providers Constituency

    The ISPCP represents the interests of Internet service providers and connectivity providers.

Registrars Stakeholder Group

The Registrars Stakeholder Group is a diverse and active group that works to ensure the interests of registrars and their customers are effectively advanced. We invite you to learn more about accredited domain name registrars and the important roles they fill in the domain name system

Registries Stakeholder Group

The Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) represents the interests of ICANN’s gTLD registry operators. Its emphasis is on policies that relate to interoperability, technical reliability and stable operation of the Internet or domain name system.

Government Communities within ICANN

ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC's key role is to provide advice to ICANN on issues of public policy, and especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN's activities or policies and national laws or international agreements.

Government Advisory Committee (GAC)

The GAC represents governments and governmental organizations. You need to be a formally acknowledged representative of a government or international organization to become a member. You can email the GAC's secretariat for more information.

Academic & Civil Communities within ICANN

Academia and civil society play key roles in how the global numbering and naming system develops. There are several structures within ICANN where organizations and individuals can ensure noncommercial and not-for-profit interests and services are represented equally alongside other stakeholder groups.

Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)

The GNSO fashions and edits policies for generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs including .com, .org, .biz) to promote fair and orderly operation, while promoting innovation and competition. People and organizations don’t join the GNSO, they instead join one of the stakeholder groups or constituencies which make up the GNSO:

Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group

The NCSG represents the interests and concerns of non-commercial registrants and non-commercial Internet users of gTLDs.

  • Non-Commercial Users Constituency

    The NCUC represents the interests and concerns of non-commercial registrants and non-commercial Internet users of gTLDs.

  • Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency

    NPOC specifically represents the operational concerns related to service delivery of not-for-profit and non-government organizational domain registrants. NPOC focuses on the impact of domain name policy on the operational readiness and implementation of non-commercial missions and objectives.

End User Communities within ICANN

Anyone can take part in ICANN. Our broadest Advisory Committee, At-Large, allows any individual to join any number of constituencies that form around a particular topic, region or issue – or even create a new group if there’s need.

At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)

ALAC is the governing body of the At-Large Community, made up of thousands of individual Internet users like you who participate in the policy development work of ICANN. At-Large is comprised of hundreds of constituencies, called At-Large Structures, organized within these regions:

Country-Code & Regional Interest Communities within ICANN

ICANN provides a specific forum for policies and issues surrounding country-code domains, along with providing groups for regional, government, language and character set concerns.

Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)

The ccNSO provides a forum for country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers to meet and discuss topical issues from a global perspective. It is also responsible for policy on related issues, such as the introduction of Internationalised Domain Name ccTLDs (IDN ccTLDs).

Government Advisory Committee (GAC)

ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC's key role is to provide advice to ICANN on issues of public policy, and especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN's activities or policies and national laws or international agreements. The GAC represents governments and governmental organizations. You need to be a formally acknowledged representative of a government or international organization to become a member. You can email the GAC's secretariat for more information.

At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)

The Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOs), provide a platform for anyone in the world to discuss and shape Internet policies of geographic concern. Visit your region to learn more:

Technical & Security Interest Communities within ICANN

ICANN offers several communities that focus on the technical aspects of maintaining a stable and secure Internet. These groups help shape the specifics of operational policies governing the Internet along with advising the Board and greater community on highly technical issues.

Address Supporting Organization (ASO)

The purpose of the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) is to review and develop recommendations on Internet Protocol (IP) address policy and to advise the ICANN Board on number resource allocation policy, in conjunction with the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) communities.

Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC)

RSSAC is responsible for advising the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System. Members are nominated by current RSSAC members and approved by ICANN’s Board of Directors.

Security & Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC)

The SSAC advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. It engages in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Internet naming and address allocation services to assess where the principal threats to stability and security lie, and advises the ICANN community accordingly. Volunteer membership is by invitation-only and terms last for one year.

Technical Liaison Group (TLG)

The TLG advises the ICANN community and Board on technical matters on an ad hoc basis. Its mission is to direct technical questions and request specific guidance when ICANN requires expert technical knowledge. The TLG solicits advice from the Technical Experts Group (TEG).

At-Large

At-Large

"At-Large" is the name of the global community for individual Internet users who participate in the policy development work of ICANN.

At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC)

ALAC is the 15-member Advisory Committee representing the At-Large Community. It is the primary organizational home for the voice and concerns of the individual Internet user.

In the At-Large Community, there are hundreds of At-Large Structures and a growing number of individual members, organized by region. Here are the regional organizations where you can learn more:

CCNSO

Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)

The ccNSO provides a forum for country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) managers to meet and discuss topical issues of concern to ccTLDs from a global perspective. It is also responsible for developing and recommending global policies to the ICANN Board for a limited set of issues relating to ccTLDs, such as the introduction of Internationalised Domain Name ccTLDs (IDN ccTLDs).

GNSO

Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)

The Generic Names Supporting Organization fashions (and over time, recommends changes to) policies for generic Top-Level Domains (e.g., .com, .org, .biz). The GNSO strives to keep gTLDs operating in a fair, orderly fashion across one global Internet, while promoting innovation and competition. However, people and organizations don’t join the GNSO, they instead join one of the stakeholder groups or constituencies which make up the GNSO.

Commercial Stakeholder Group

The CSG represents the views of commercial Internet users and relevant sectors of the ICT industry, including, large and small business entities, business organizations, Internet connectivity providers, intellectual property owners and intellectual property organizations.

  • Commercial Business Users Constituency

    The Business Constituency (BC) is the voice of commercial Internet users within ICANN, promoting. You can find out more about how to join on the constituency's website, where you can also follow its work. Membership fees apply, ranging from €383 to €1,500.

  • Intellectual Property Constituency

    The IPC represents intellectual property interests within ICANN. To join you can be either an international or national intellectual property organization, or a company or individual with a demonstrated interest in the protection of intellectual property. Each group has its own application form and fees vary from $300 to $900 depending on which group you belong to.

  • Internet Service Providers Constituency

    The ISPCP represents Internet service providers and connectivity providers and requires sponsorship from your organization along with a commitment to regularly participate. Applicants send the Secretariat an email outlining their credentials.

Registrars Stakeholder Group

The Registrars Stakeholder Group is a diverse and active group that works to ensure the interests of registrars and their customers are effectively advanced. We invite you to learn more about accredited domain name registrars and the important roles they fill in the domain name system.

Registries Stakeholder Group

The Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) represents the interests of ICANN’s gTLD registry operators. Its emphasis is on policies that relate to interoperability, technical reliability and stable operation of the Internet or domain name system.


Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group

The purpose of the Non Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) is to represent, through its elected representatives and its Constituencies, the interests and concerns of non-commercial registrants and non-commercial Internet users of generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs)

  • Non-Commercial Users Constituency

    The purpose of the Non Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is to represent, through its elected representatives and its interest groups, the interests and concerns of non-commercial registrants and non-commercial Internet users of generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs).

  • Not-for-Profit Operational Concerns Constituency

    The purpose of the NPOC is to represent, specifically, the operational concerns related to service delivery of not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations who are domain registrants in the DNS. NPOC focuses on the impact of DNS policies and their effects on the operational readiness and implementation of non-commercial missions and objectives. NPOC members rely on the Internet and DNS policies to provide valuable services to their communities.

ASO

Address Supporting Organization (ASO)

The purpose of the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) is to review and develop recommendations on Internet Protocol (IP) address policy and to advise the ICANN Board on number resource allocation policy, in conjunction with the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) communities:

GAC

Government Advisory Committee (GAC)

ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC's key role is to provide advice to ICANN on issues of public policy, and especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN's activities or policies and national laws or international agreements. The GAC represents governments and governmental organizations. You need to be a formally acknowledged representative of a government or international organization to become a member. You can email the GAC's secretariat for more information.

SSAC

Security & Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC)

The SSAC advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet's naming and address allocation systems. It engages in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Internet naming and address allocation services to assess where the principal threats to stability and security lie, and advises the ICANN community accordingly. Volunteer membership is by invitation-only and terms last for one year.

RSSAC

Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC)

The Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) is responsible for advising the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System. Members are nominated by current RSSAC members and approved by ICANN’s Board of Directors.

Board

ICANN Board of Directors

The ICANN Board of Directors consists of fifteen voting members. The members form committees in order to resolve issues.

The ICANN Nominating Committee

The ICANN Nominating Committee (NOMCOM)

The NomCom is an independent committee tasked with selecting key ICANN members including the Board of Directors, as well as the ALAC, the ccNSO Council and the GNSO Council. The NomCom is designed to function independently from the Board, the Supporting Organizations, and Advisory Committees. NomCom members act only on behalf of the interests of the global Internet community and within the scope of the ICANN mission and responsibilities assigned to it by the ICANN Bylaws.

OMBUD

The ICANN Ombudsman

The ICANN Ombudsman is independent, impartial, and neutral. The Ombudsman's function is to act as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) office for the ICANN community who may wish to lodge a complaint about an ICANN staff, board or supporting organization decision, action or inaction. The purpose of the office is to ensure that the members of the ICANN community have been treated fairly. The Ombudsman will act as an impartial officer and will attempt to resolve complaints about unfair treatment by ICANN using ADR techniques. The Ombudsman is not an advocate for you, but will investigate without taking sides in a dispute.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."