ICANN is issuing today a Request for Proposal (RFP) [PDF, 104 KB] to identify a Global Background Screening Service Provider capable of generating a thorough and timely background check for all new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Applicants.
After extensive discussion, debates, and deliberations over the past several years with the business groups, trademark owners, governments, and the Internet community at-large, ICANN's Board of Directors have approved the plan to allow entities to apply for new top-level domains through the new gTLD program. The number of generic top-level domains, (there are 22 in existence today and include familiar names such as .com, .net, and .org), are expected to dramatically expand over the next several years.
Based on extensive community feedback regarding a safe and stable new gTLD launch, ICANN has committed to conducting an extensive background screening of each applicant. The new gTLD program is designed with multiple stakeholder protection mechanisms. Background screening, features of the gTLD Registry Agreement, easy access to zone file data, and data and financial escrow mechanisms are all intended to provide registrant and user protections. The scope of the background screening is expected to cover, at a minimum, the entity applying, key directors, officers, partners, and major shareholders of that entity.
The new gTLD program is expected start accepting applications in January 2012, and receive a diverse set of applications from all over the world. Ensuring that applicants have the intention to operate the new gTLDs in the public interest and in compliance with the program requirements is of utmost concern. Conducting a thorough and timely background check on each applicant is an important component of the ICANN's application approval process.
Respondents are requested to respond to this RFP by replying to: BackgroundScreeningRFP@icann.org. The period to submit questions about the RFP will close on 13 September 2011. ICANN will provide answers to all questions submitted to all respondents by 22 September 2011. The final response to the RFP is due on 4 October 2011.