Read ICANN Blogs to stay informed of the latest policymaking activities, regional events, and more.

A Better New gTLD Program … With A Little Help From Our Friends

5 August 2013
By Akram Atallah

The evolution of the New gTLD Program over the last several years has brought with it a unique and diverse set of ideas, proposals and challenges – all of them aimed at improving the program. While the ensuing community discussions may have slowed the development and launch of the New gTLD Program beyond what many of us anticipated, they have only served to make the program better.

Two examples of that are highlighted today with the release of two reports that should shape the New gTLD Program for years to come.

First, we announced the results of an independent report [PDF, 3.34 MB] prepared by the Interisle Consulting Group on the impact of “name collisions” within the Domain Name System space. Along with our colleagues in the technical community, specifically those from the Security and Stability Advisory Committee we recognize that many of the applied-for names in the program already were in some use in some private networks.

The possibility of confusion is real although low for about 80 percent of the applied-for names but high for two strings, .corp and .home. As for the other remaining 20 percent, further study must be done to assess their impact. We already are moving ahead with plans to mitigate [PDF, 166 KB] the risks but we want your input before we do.

We also announced the results of another independent study [PDF, 1.02 MB] by Carve Systems, this one concerning the proposed concept of “dotless domains” – domain names that wouldn’t require inclusion of a “dot.” This idea has triggered a healthy debate that has lasted nearly two years. Once again, SSAC and IAB weighed in and identified potential risks, and now Carve Systems has as well. The Board’s New gTLD Program Committee will consider steps to be taken to mitigate the risks of dotless domains later this month.

One consistency you will see in how we approached both of these issues – name collisions and dotless domains – as well as with all issues related to the New gTLD Program, is that the security and stability of the Domain Name System is our first priority. Be assured it will remain so.


Akram Atallah

Former President, Global Domains Division