On 20 June 2011 the ICANN Board voted to approve the Applicant Guidebook for the New gTLD Program. Having concluded the detailed stakeholder discussions on policy and implementation for this program, ICANN is preparing for its launch: applications for new gTLDs are planned to be accepted 12 January – 12 April 2012. (Note: all applicants must at least register in the online application system by 29 March 2012.)
The Applicant Guidebook is a comprehensive guide for applicants that describes the New Generic Top-Level Domain program's requirements and evaluation processes. The Applicant Guidebook has been developed and improved through extensive public review by specialized working groups and ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. Each draft has been accompanied by extensive public comment analyses, explanatory memoranda, and independent reports. The modifications made to this version of the guidebook (version 2011-07-29) are primarily limited to changes directed by the Board resolution from the 20 June meeting in Singapore.
The Applicant Guidebook is intended to be an inclusive guide and will be regularly updated as aspects of the process are deemed necessary and are implemented. In addition to the Applicant Guidebook, a summary of changes since the last version and a discussion version of a process for amending the Applicant Guidebook are also posted. There are certain areas where work is still ongoing, such as: whether single character Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) can be delegated as TLDs, ensuring continued registry operation through a continued operations instrument, and providing support for needy applicants through the work of the Joint Applicant Support (JAS) working group.
As to the last issue, the Board is committed to providing support for applicants from developing countries, and the JAS working group has recommended the criteria for that support. ICANN is launching the first phase of an Applicant Support Program. This online work space was created to connect potential applicants who wish to establish a new public interest gTLD registry in their community with organizations who wish to offer either financial or non-financial assistance.
Check the site regularly, as we will continue to add tools and resources.
Below you will find the complete version of the Applicant Guidebook.
For questions about the New gTLD Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org