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Here’s how we enter the .future

24 October 2008
By Kieren McCarthy

So, after years of policy and development work, yesterday ICANN released a draft version of the Applicant Guidebook for those interested in applying for a new “generic top-level domain”.

Or, as Associated Press put it “preliminary guidelines for the introduction of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of alternatives to ‘.com’ in the first sweeping changes to the network’s 25-year-old address system.”

A huge amount of thinking and work has gone into this, as anyone who reads the six-module guidebook and the accompanying explanatory memoranda will realise. But because it is such a complex issue – opening up the Internet like never before – we need more eyes on it than the GNSO representatives and the ICANN staff that have got it to this point.

That’s why the whole thing is out to public comment. And because it is a big document, we have set up different comment areas for each module (as well as one for the guidebook as a whole in case people prefer to comment that way).

Alot of people have raised concerns about expanding the namespace over the past few years, and those comments have been listened to and taken into account. ICANN has said “wait until we produce the draft RFP, then if you still have concerns, let’s talk”.

Well, that time has come. The documents are out in English; soon they will be out in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian. We will have a large number of sessions on them in Cairo in two weeks; we have a 45-day comment period open. We will have more sessions and more comment periods before this is finalised.

So, if you want to help guide the future evolution of the Internet, now’s the time to download a few documents, read them, give it some thought and then share with both the community and the world your thoughts on how we do this right. ICANN looks forward to hearing from you.

Please visit the specific public comment page set up for supplying your feedback at: http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtld-comments-en.htm

Update: I’ve just been told that our first correction is in. George Kirikos has noticed a discrepancy on the issue of price controls on previous new gTLDs, so we have added a clarifying note. Thanks George, please keep ‘em coming.

You can download the Guidebook and its modules (all pdf files) at the links below:

Individual modules:


Kieren McCarthy