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Applicant Guidebook update

12 January 2009
By Kieren McCarthy

The following response to the Applicant Guidebook is also posted on the front page of the ICANN website.

The first public comment period on the Draft Applicant Guidebook for new gTLDs has closed. The period opened on 24 October 2008, and was 76 days long after it closed 7 January to account for later publication of the Guidebook in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. ICANN continued to receive and accept English comments received until the January 7 deadline considering the end of year holidays.

The comment period received over 300 comments from participants from 24 different countries. Among the many participants were individuals and organizations representing intellectual property interests, brand owners, business owners, ICANN supporting organizations, domain name industry players, and governments.

“This level of interest and feedback to the Draft Guidebook shows that the comment process is working. All the comments and concerns will be considered and a response will be provided,” said Paul Levins, Executive Officer and Vice President Corporate Affairs.

Some of the key concerns raised by the community that are immediately obvious are:

* Brand protection issues and the impact on brands and trademark owners
* Financial considerations, including evaluation fees, ongoing registry fees, and refund procedures
* Various issues surrounding the proposed registry agreement, particularly, price controls, registry/registrar separation, the management of future agreement amendments, equitable treatment, and others
* General comments and concerns related to expanding the top level and its impact on the global marketplace, specific industries and Domain Name System stability.

“There is no doubt that we need to address these and other legitimate concerns before proceeding to open the application process” said Mr Levins.

Respondents had the option to comment on the Guidebook as a whole or on one of its six modules. Just over half (55 percent), chose to comment on the Guidebook; the rest commented on specific modules or topics. The fifth module, covering the base agreement between new registries and ICANN, received the most comments (around 30 percent).

The responses are now being summarized and evaluated. A comprehensive analysis of the comments will be released in early February.

“We will also be holding conferences in different global locations to further explain the Guidebook, the changes envisaged and to have further dialogue. Alongside the feedback received from these and other outreach events, the summary and analysis will inform ICANN staff through the next program development phase, which will mean amending the current guidebook” Mr Levins said.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those that contributed their responses to the first public comment period. ICANN looks forward to continuing a productive dialogue on this that will result in amendments to the application process” Levins said.


Kieren McCarthy