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Deadline for Independent Evaluator Applications Extended | Outside Firms Sought to Perform Key Roles in Evaluating Applications for New Generic Top-Level Domains

2 April 2009

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Updated 22 April 2009

If you have any questions regarding this process, please email: eval-eoi@icann.org

MARINA DEL REY, CALIF. – ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) seeks firms to perform key roles in reviewing applications for new generic top-level domains and has extended the application period for firms interested in serving as independent evaluators. The new deadline will be 11 June 2009. Independent evaluators will be retained by ICANN and will play a key role in determining the future of the Internet’s domain naming system.


Generic top-level domains ("gTLD") are the characters to the right of the "dot" in an Internet address and are a critical part of the Internet’s unique domain naming system. Currently, there are only 21 gTLDs, including such familiar domains as .COM, .NET, .ORG. After years of community policy development that recommended the introduction of new gTLDs, ICANN is preparing to introduce an application process for those who wish to operate a new gTLD.

As part of preparing for the formal launch of the new gTLD application process, ICANN is taking action to ensure there will be a robust, effective and timely evaluation process in place to review applications. One critical aspect of this preparation is identifying competent evaluation panels with the appropriate expertise, resources and geographic diversity to assess specific aspects of new gTLD applications against criteria which will be published in the final version of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook.

ICANN anticipates that these panels will be most appropriate for professional services/consulting firms or organizations with international and Internet expertise, and be capable of assessing financial, technical, geographical, linguistic and other elements of these applications. Experience working with global constituencies will also be valuable for potential evaluators.

Panel Overviews

ICANN is accepting expressions of interest from individuals or firms in four distinct areas. These areas and responsibilities include:

  • Applicant Evaluation Teams (Technical and Financial Evaluation) : Determine whether applicants have demonstrated the relevant technical, financial and/or organizational capabilities to operate a gTLD registry as defined by the criteria in the Applicant Guidebook. For more background and specific information on the financial or technical evaluation panel, please visit:
    http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/eoi-app-eval-25feb09-en.pdf [PDF, 59K]
  • Geographic Name Evaluation : Determine if an applied-for gTLD falls within the geographic name definition specified in the Applicant Guidebook. If it does, evaluators will also verify the application is accompanied by required government statement of approval or non-objection. For more background and specific information on the geographic name evaluation panel, please visit:
    http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/eoi-geonames-25feb09-en.pdf [PDF, 71K]
  • String Similarity Examiners : Assess the uniqueness and distinction of new gTLD applications to mitigate the potential for confusion or deception among Internet users. For more background and specific information on the string similarity examination panel, please visit:
    http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/eoi-string-sim-25feb09-en.pdf [PDF, 59K]
  • Comparative Evaluation Panel : Perform evaluations in cases where there are two or more applications for the same or similar domains/strings to determine which application more closely meets the requirements defined in the Applicant Guidebook. For more background and specific information on the comparative evaluation panel, please visit:
    http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/eoi-comparative-evaluation-25feb09-en.pdf [PDF, 61K]

Specific guidelines for completing a statement of interest for one of the evaluation panels can be found within each of the individual panel overviews. In addition to completing these materials and submitting these statements before 11 JUNE 2009, applicants must also email an expression of interest in applying for the appropriate panel to its associated email address:

If you have any questions regarding this process, please email: eval-eoi@icann.org

New GTLDs and the Internet

After years of discussion and thought, new gTLDs are being expanded. They will allow for more innovation, choice and change to a global Internet presently served by only 21 generic top-level domain names.  

As a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to coordinating the Internet’s addressing system, ICANN is not expanding gTLDs to add to its revenue. There will be an evaluation fee but it will recover costs only (expenses so far, application processing and anticipated legal costs).

An implementation plan is being developed with opportunities for public comment.  There will be processes for objections. There has also been detailed technical scrutiny to ensure the Internet’s stability and security. Many thousands of people representing organizations as diverse as domain name registries and registrars, businesses, engineers, scientists, governments, users, academics, and the legal fraternity have contributed.

Promoting competition and choice is one of the principles upon which ICANN was founded. In a world with 1.5 billion Internet users (and growing), diversity, choice and innovation are key.  The Internet has supported huge increases in choice, innovation and the competition of ideas. Expanding new gTLDs provides further opportunities.

Find out more detail at: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-program.htm

Openness. Change. Innovation.

About ICANN: http://www.icann.org/en/about/